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Age discrimination is definitely real – let’s start off by confirming that fact. As we move forward with navigating our careers in a COVID-19 society, ageism is even more of a challenge than usual as economic uncertainty has forced some companies to streamline and focus on lean operations. This can often involve layoffs, and many “seasoned” job seekers may have a harder time finding equivalent jobs with the same salary range and benefits options.
The first step in a standard job search is submitting your resume for review. The initial resume screening process is where age-related scrutiny usually begins. Protect yourself from unfair bias in this stage of the hiring process by eliminating some of the more obvious clues.
Check Your Contact Email
Did you know that certain emails are an easy tip-off to an applicant’s age? Some recruiters and hiring managers identify certain email addresses with senior job seekers. If you’re still using emails attached to Hotmail, MSN, AOL, Comcast, Yahoo!, or Bellsouth/ATT, you might want to consider using a completely different address while job hunting to avoid calling attention to your age so that you’ll advance to the interview stage.
Remove Your Street Address
Current resume writing best practices advises leaving your street address off your resume. One big reason behind this change involves protecting your personal information. I often remind my clients that your resume will pass through several different people during the initial review phases.
The only contact information that really needs to be included is your phone number, email, and LinkedIn URL (customized). Besides, there are very few employers today that utilize snail mail as part of their hiring process.
Delete All Outdated Software Skills
Your technical skills should meet the current qualifications for the job you’re applying to. So don’t date yourself unnecessarily by failing to remove outdated technology that’s considered obsolete and may even be incompatible with current software/hardware programs; or even worse – a security risk.
Remove Jobs that Date Back More than 10 Years
If your resume work history dates back further than the most recent 10 years, you may be setting yourself up for age-related bias. Even if you’ve worked for the same company for the past 15 to 20 years, focus on the most recent 10 years. This levels the playing field, making it more difficult for a recruiter/hiring manager to guess your age. By eliminating these biases, it makes it easier for them to remain focused on your qualifications. Another bonus: it helps job applicants avoid sending in unnecessarily long resumes.
Remove All Graduation Dates
As a general rule of thumb, there is no reason to include a graduation date on your resume. Excluding federal resumes (the rules for these resumes are different). That’s because it’s a sure-fire way to expose your age. Presenting your degree credentials is good enough. The only time I include graduation dates on a client’s resume is if the degree was obtained within the last 3 years. Most recent graduates don’t have much experience in their chosen field yet so in that instance, I’ll provide supporting information that shows knowledge and exposure to any latest advancements in their field or industry.
Create a LinkedIn Profile that Complements Your Resume
I don’t mean to stereotype, but of all the job seekers that contact me for career services, the ones most resistant to setting up and using LinkedIn are usually within the 45+ age group. Some in this age group still believe that a resume is all they need for today’s job search. Some are simply uncomfortable with the idea of having an online profile. This way of thinking is a big mistake.
Understand that as I write this, LinkedIn is recognized internationally as the #1 online networking platform. Although the resume is the foundation of the job search (for now…), LinkedIn provides another opportunity for you to communicate your career story in compelling detail, presenting your achievements in context, and highlighting the strengths, skills, and experience that best demonstrate your professional expertise. Your LinkedIn profile also provides a place for you to share other rich, appropriate content like PowerPoint presentations, video, live links, and other multimedia to further enhance your profile and show potential employers and/or business partners what you can do.
All-in-all, LinkedIn is no longer a platform that job seekers can afford to ignore. Did you know that the majority of recruiters and hiring managers that receive your resume will immediately follow up by visiting your LinkedIn profile? Why not take advantage of this venue with a free account that enhances your competitive edge?
Image Credit: BBH Singapore
Now be honest… is the resume and cover letter you’ve been submitting for jobs getting you noticed? What about your LinkedIn? Are you receiving invitations to interview? If not, we should talk! Contact me by phone: 1-866-562-0850, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or text: 256-733-0560 to schedule a NO COST, NO OBLIGATION 15-minute consultation.