Protect Your Resume from Age Discrimination

Searching for a job nowadays is a far cry from the way things used to be. Now, recruiters “ghost” you (i.e. leave you hanging without a return phone call or e-mail), and you don’t even know why. Sadly, one reason could be because your resume is making you look “too old.” 

It’s a tragic truth. While you may think giving your all over the last 35 years to the same company proves you are a loyal and dedicated worker, all the recruiter may be thinking as he or she looks at your resume is that you’re over 50 years old and that you’re going to want to retire soon. In that case, the recruiter thinks, it’s probably best not to choose you for a long-term position.

Here are three tips to help you craft your resume in such a way so as to not let your age define your qualifications before the recruiter even agrees to meet with you.

Keep Your Experience Relevant

It seems logical that if you have a plethora of experience in a variety of areas that you should include that experience on your resume. After all, you never know which of the jobs you’ve held previously will be the closest match for the position you’re seeking. However, as tempting as it may be to include all your promotions over the last 30 years, don’t. Even if you don’t include dates, the hiring manager knows how much time it takes to accrue that much experience.

Whittle your resume down to two pages, and include only the most relevant information from your career. Try to match your resume as best you can to the skills and qualifications listed in the job posting. Many recruiters use software that only selects the resumes that match the terms they’re looking for, so the more terms you can legitimately include on your resume, the better.

Watch Your Dates

While this builds on the advice in the above tip, you should be careful of any and all dates you include on your resume. This goes for graduation dates and dates on which you earned certifications. For instance, if your last Windows certification was from when Windows 95 was released, this is a dead giveaway that you’re not fresh out of school.

You shouldn’t not include dates, because this too is a bad idea. So what can you do? It may seem like overkill, but if you want to freshen up your skills, you may want to consider taking a nighttime or online class. Not only will you freshen up your resume, but you may also find you’re able to apply for more positions by learning something new. Then you can leave off the older certifications (like Windows 95) entirely and replace them with newer ones (like Windows 10) that make you more employable.

Switch to a Professional Summary

If you’re including an objective statement on your resume, this too can make you look “old school.” Today’s candidates often use a professional summary. The difference is that, instead of one line of at the top of your resume describing your purpose in applying, you instead include a blurb of factual evidence that proves you have what it takes to succeed at the job.

Consider the following:

Example Objective Statement:

“Seeking a position that allows me to use my strengths as a project manager to provide quality feedback to my team while helping the company achieve its organizational objectives.”

Example Professional Summary:

“Business graduate with proven communication, email and project management skills. Seeking a position as a project manager at Company ABC, to leverage management skills to support internal and external communication.”

The differences are minor, but by staying on top of trends in job applications, you’re giving the recruiter or hiring manager one less reason to question your longevity with the company. This is also a great space to fill in a little more of your experience without attaching dates.

Kailyn Champlin