While making a hiring decision based solely on a candidate’s age is potentially illegal, that does not mean that age-related discrimination does not occur. At times, younger workers have an edge when it comes to technology roles, as employers assume they are more adept naturally. As a result, older professionals may need to take certain steps to ensure that age-related stereotypes do not prevent them from landing an interview.
Luckily, it is not hard to age-proof your resume. Here is how to get started:
Remove Old Jobs
There is no rule that says you have to list all of your previous employers on your resume. In fact, doing so can actually allow hiring managers to estimate your age, and that may not work in your favor. Plus, in many cases, hiring managers are more concerned about what you have done as of late, not what you accomplished 15 years ago.
Instead of including everything, focus only on relevant recent experience, going back no more than 10 or 15 years, max. Include details that cover all of the requirements in the job description, highlighting applicable accomplishments and quantifying the data whenever possible.
Avoid Unnecessary Dates
If you earned your degree or certifications near the start of your career, then listing the dates you received your degree or other credentials will make it easier to guess your age. Instead of including the date, omit it entirely. While the hiring manager will want to know that you earned a degree or certification, they do not necessarily need to know when, so do not think that you have to include anything that creates a timeline in this case.
Update Your Contact Options
Did you know that your email account domain could lead a hiring manager to assume you are older? It’s true. Similarly, listing a landline could cause them to make assumptions too.
Today, you want to be seen as tech-savvy. Start by making sure your email domain is one that younger professionals would use, like a free account through Gmail. Additionally, only list a smartphone number on your resume, and do so without labeling it with “cell” or “mobile,” as that is unnecessary.
Get Rid of the Objective Statement
The objective statement used to be a standard addition on any resume. If you haven’t searched for a new job in quite some time, then your last one may have featured that section. And it’s time to remove it.
Objective statements fell out of favor some time ago. After all, they didn’t really provide hiring managers with much value, so it shouldn’t be a surprise. By keeping it, you don’t just look like you haven’t kept up with the times, it also makes you appear older as younger workers would never list one.
Instead, craft a high-quality professional summary that highlights your strengths and how you can provide value to a prospective employer. This is much more impactful and ensures your resume matches with current trends.
Reach Out to The Armada Group for More Resume Help!
By following the tips above, you can age-proof your resume. If you would like more information, the team at The Armada Group can help you craft this critical document. Contact us to speak with one of our staff members today and see how our resume writing expertise can benefit you.
Going to be looking for a new job in the new year? Update your resume and brush up on your interviewing skills with these 10 tips:
1. Have good manners.
Be nice to everyone you meet during the hiring process, including the administrative assistants who schedule the interviews and bring you into the office. Even if the hiring process doesn't formally solicit their feedback, you can be sure any bad impression you make on them will find its way back to the hiring manager.
2. Don't focus solely on technology.
If you're interviewing for a leadership or managerial role, your job is more about people than tech. If you are looking for a technical job, you'll have to interact with co-workers and colleagues in other business departments. If you make it clear you enjoy those interactions, you'll appear more flexible than someone who wants to keep their head down and just code.
3. Be ready to explain how you'd get started.
Companies are often hiring because they have an urgent need. Be ready to explain how your skills, background, and approach will let you hit the ground running.
4. Dress appropriately.
It's rare to need a suit and tie when interviewing for a technical position, but you should still bump your style up a notch. In some startups, casual, even sloppy, dress may still be appropriate for an interview, but even if you're rumpled, you need to be clean.
5. Be ready to show your portfolio.
Particularly for positions that emphasize creativity, such as user interface design roles, you may be asked to show samples of your work. Be mindful of any confidentiality or nondisclosure agreements you have with your current employer, but bring examples of your work when possible. (Don’t force an uninterested interviewer to look at it, however!)
6. Be ready to ask questions.
You can plan questions in advance based on information you gather about the company online, but you'll make an even better impression if you ask relevant questions about the specific opportunity that relate to information the interviewer gave you.
7. Indicate your interest in continuing development.
No one can afford to stop learning, whether in a technical or managerial role. Express your interest in continuing to develop your capabilities, including technical and leadership skills, and the company will know that your value to them won't end just because a technology becomes obsolete.
8. Have your references ready.
Companies expect that you'll be able to provide references; not having a list of names handy makes you seem unprepared and can raise suspicions that you don't have anyone who will vouch for you. Make sure you let your references know you'll be giving their information out and they are willing to respond on your behalf.
You don't want to give canned answers to interview questions, but you don't want to ramble, either. Anticipate what you may be asked and think about your answers in advance. You can't anticipate specific technical questions, but you can brush up on the relevant technologies to refresh your memory.
10. Remember the evaluation process goes both ways.
Interviewing isn't just about you impressing the company; the company also needs to impress you. Pay attention to the facilities and people you see; do you think you'd fit in and enjoy working here? That's the most important interview question of all.
It's tempting to embellish your achievements on your resume. The whole point is to put forward a representation of you that gets you hired. You're expected to put forward information that presents you in a positive light, but don't take it to the point of making up degrees and lying about what you've accomplished.
The Internet Knows Everything
Even if your potential employer doesn't do a full background check, they're likely to do a simple Google search on your name. If the information on your resume doesn't match what they find on Google, that will send up a red flag. And even if you pay a reputation management firm to try to push negative information down in the search results, the information is still out there. It's better to prepare responses to the negative information that show you learned from the situation.
Employees want employees they can trust. The job may involve handling money; it may involve handling valuable intellectual property. In every case, companies need to believe you'll be honest and treat their money and property respectfully. There's no worse way to prove you're honest enough for a job than lying about yourself before you're even hired.
You Set Yourself Up for Failure
If you manage to nab an interview, but don't have the skills and experience claimed on your resume, it's not likely to go well. Employers are likely to probe to verify you have the knowledge implied by acronyms and buzzwords, and if you threw them in just to get in the door, you won't make a good impression. If you somehow manage to actually get a job that requires the skills you claimed, you're not likely to succeed on the job.
You Can Get Fired
Don't think you're safe just because you got the job and you're managing to perform okay. You can get fired for lying whenever the company finds out about it.
You Hurt Yourself
Even if you fake your way through everything, get a job, and manage to succeed on it, you'll know it's all based on a lie. Protect your self-esteem and base your career on a solid foundation instead. If you think you need to lie about your accomplishments to get a job, there are other ways to buff your resume.
You can take training to get the skills you lack, or complete an academic program to earn that degree. You can prepare answers to questions about why you should be hired despite lacking a specific certification or skill. And you can network to meet and impress potential hiring managers in person, rather than meeting them as a piece of paper. It's far better for you in the long term if you take more time to find a job you're really suited for, based on your actual achievements than to lie to take a shortcut.