Avoiding Age Discrimination on Your Resume

— November 14, 2016

While the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employers from using age as a discriminating factor in hiring (and any other aspect of employment), it still happens. Employers may not even realize that subconsciously they’re thinking about a person’s age while reviewing their resume because it is so obviously highlighted. Taking steps to put the emphasis on your relevant abilities and accomplishments – instead of your age – can redirect an employer’s attention to the things that matter. Here are a few ways that you reduce the potential for age discrimination when it comes to your resume:


Use Gmail or a personal domain for email: If you still have an AOL email address, or even Hotmail, this can certainly date you. It is free to sign up for Gmail, so choose a professional address – and one that does not include your year of birth or numbers that may appear as such – to use when job searching.


Pick one phone number: Choose the number that would be easiest for an employer to contact you on. Many people do not have landlines anymore, so including a home phone and cell phone number is starting to become outdated.


Focus on your most recent jobs: Your resume does not have to include every single job you’ve ever had. Include those from the past 10-15 years and leave off the rest, or simply add that additional experience includes X, Y, Z, and if an employer wants to know more, they can ask. Likewise, many online applications have a place to include previous jobs, so you don’t need them all on your resume, which is just a snapshot of your career.


Be selective with dates: If you graduated more than 10 years ago, leave off the years with your education. Employers are usually more interested in what the degree was, rather than when you received it.


Stay up-to-date with skills: Get rid of outdated skills like saying you’re proficient in Microsoft Office. In this day and age, virtually everyone is. Instead, focus on current skills and certifications that employers are interested in. Consider taking professional development courses to learn new skills and software if you feel you’re lacking.


Update your format: To align with current trends, resumes should no longer include an objective, references, or even “References available upon request.” Use a powerful summary of qualifications and core competencies section instead of the outdated objective. And if an employer wants references, they’ll ask, and you’re expected to provide them; keep your references on a separate sheet so they’re ready to go.


Pay attention to word choice: If your summary is branding you as “seasoned” professional or someone with “25+ years of experience,” you’re dating yourself. If the job description asks for 10 years of experience, simply say you have “10+ years of experience” to show that you meet the requirement without going overboard.

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Author: Amanda Clark


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