With a Few Resume Changes, You Can Beat Ageism

John Krautzel
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If you're an experienced professional and you're looking for a job, age discrimination can be a problem. Your resume might be the culprit, but with a few resume changes, you can eliminate ageism and get more interviews.

1. Condense Your Experience

When you've had a long career, your experience can be overwhelming to a potential employer. They might worry that you're overqualified or assume that they can't meet your salary requirements. One way to beat this type of age discrimination is to condense your work experience. Instead of listing every job you've held since college, only include positions from the last 10 years. It's also helpful to eliminate your graduation dates. This method is useful because it highlights your most recent and relevant skills — which are what an employer needs most. It also boosts your chances of getting a foot in the door, so you can explain your situation.

2. Highlight Additional Experience

When you condense your work history, it cuts out a variety of important experience and expertise. If your earlier jobs are relevant, you can still include them on your resume without worrying about age discrimination. Simply create a "Relevant Experience" or "Additional Experience" section, and add a list of projects, jobs or other relevant qualifications. This section gives you an opportunity to present yourself as a well-rounded candidate with a wealth of knowledge. To make your resume easier for employers to scan, use a simple bulleted list. You can also place relevant work experience in a "Qualifications Summary" or "Professional Profile" section on your document.

3. Update Your Language

Have you been working off of the same resume for decades? If so, it might contain red flags for employers. Mentioning outdated technology or using obsolete jargon can trigger age discrimination. This is particularly important when it comes to technology. A surprising culprit? Your email address. If you're using an old or unpopular provider, it's a good idea to get a new address. Some employers might automatically write you off as being too old-fashioned, while others might simply be confused. To fix this issue, go through every sentence in your resume. When you find any language that's not current, replace it with a more up-to-date reference.

4. Refresh Your Design

When you're trying to beat age discrimination, creating a new resume design is one of the most useful resume changes you can make. Older resume designs are easy for employers to spot — they often use outmoded fonts or a cluttered layout. Contemporary resumes, on the other hand, are clean, simple and easy to read. They mark you as someone who understands current trends and styles. If you don't have an eye for design, consider paying a designer to update the document for you. It's usually an inexpensive process, and the results can pay off in more job interviews.

For older job-seekers, age discrimination can be a serious challenge. By tweaking and updating your resume, you can make it easier to get to the interview stage.

Photo Courtesy of AP2014 MLA Stephen Farry at Flickr.com


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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Jerry R. thanks for your comment. On the positive side, at least you are getting replies. So that means that your resume is making it through the ATS and is being looked at by a human. You just need to be looking for a job with a company who appreciates their employees. Make sure that you are checking the company out before you apply. With a little bit of detective work, you could find out what type of employees they hire - are they all 20 somethings or are they a mixture. Companies do this because they think they can save some money by hiring someone who doesn't have the experience. They are finding out that it's a mistake - especially today. The big thing is ghosting and it seems to be done more by the millennials than any other age group. This is when the candidate schedules an interview and then just doesn't show.
    Or accepts a position and just blows it off. So hang in and keep applying. Companies are slowly but surely starting to wake up and realize that experience and maturity really do matter.

  • Jerry R.
    Jerry R.


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