Resume Age Bias Exists: What You Can Do as a Job Seeker
Age discrimination can happen to anyone. It can happen whether you’re just out of college, mid-way in your career, or a few years away from retirement age. And, it doesn’t only happen when it comes down to the face-to-face interview. Age bias can occur the moment the employer skims over your resume.
You may be wondering: “How’s the employer going to know my age simply by looking at my resume?” Well, there are plenty of telltale signs.
Prepare and write the resume to avoid age bias. Here’s what you need to be watchful of:
The most obvious sign of your age on the resume can come through your email address. This is especially the case for those with an email like johndoe1940@…. Whether the year applies to the year you were born or not, employers will make their own interpretation. Most will lean on the year to signify the year you were born or some form of anniversary date. A simple fix is to use a more general email address that may include your name or play into your brand message. And, another thing to be watchful for is the source of your email address. Most users with an AOL, Hotmail or Yahoo address are more likely associated with a later generation than users with a Gmail address.
The old resume-writing style ways included the date of graduation/when a degree was obtained and even when college coursework was completed, but that’s no longer necessary today. Simply indicating you’ve obtained a B.A. in Psychology or M.S. in Business Management along with the educational institution where it was received is sufficient. Employers can interpret dates associated with these details to factor your age just referring to the typical timeline people follow in obtaining education.
For those of you taking the old resume that hasn’t been touched in years and making updates to it now, you can go ahead and remove the fax number. More people today are communicating electronically using email. Anything that would need to be sent would probably come through email than over the fax machine.
Old resume-writing rules
The resume has had its share of updates over the years. Basic elements of the past like the Objective Statement and ‘References Available Upon Request’ are no more in today’s modern age of resume-writing. And the process of using buzzwords like creative, innovative, hard-working and putting out a list of skills with no information to back it up is worthless. Today’s process to resume writing addresses employers upfront. Using proof to showcase experience and skills applied on the job so that employers have a sense of what you can offer on the job.
Outdated technical knowledge
At one point the resume included highlighting technical knowledge of basic software programs like Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Unless the job posting specifically asks for it, leaving this type of information off. Leaving it in only opens yourself up to age discrimination. It shows you not only have a dated resume, but that you’re probably not technically savvy. Yes, knowing how to use these programs are critical under many professional work settings, but it’s expected without saying. There’s no need to bring light to the fact that you know it on the resume. It’s like saying “I know how to send an email.” At this point, who doesn’t? You’re much better off highlighting specialized technical skills specific to the job.
Today’s resume needs to be succinct. Inform employers exactly what you’re capable of offering and doing on the job. If you’re resume can showcase your value upfront and how you’re relevant to the employer, age becomes a non-factor.
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