Even though age discrimination was officially banned with The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) employers can still trash resumes based on perceived age with impunity.
Here are 3 resume tips to help baby boomers remain competitive in today’s job market.
1. Don’t Include Your Graduation Date
If your graduation date was sometime during the Cold War, it will tip off the hiring manager to your age immediately.
This fix is easy – don’t write in your graduation date.
2. Sculpt Your Professional Experience
You have to write the dates of your work experience – so you can’t fudge it easily like in the first tip. Obviously, if your first work experience was in 1980, you’re going to give yourself away again.
So what can you do?
If you have a lot of job experience, you actually have a lot of flexibility to make your resume “look young” while still impressing the hiring manager.
The key is to eliminate older work experience, and focus on the last 10-15 years – even if your prior experience was impressive. The hiring manager will do mental math and assume that you possibly started working 10-15 years ago, and be more inclined to interview you.
But what if your older job experience is both impressive and relevant to the job you’re applying for?
If you feel like it absolutely must be included on your resume, you can create a combination resume. Include highlights from your previous work experience in the Qualifications Summary part of your resume, and then only list your later work experience in reverse-chronological order under it.
If you’re looking for a new job but staying within the same industry, an experienced applicant doesn’t necessarily have to include much older experiences, such as entry-level industry jobs they did after graduation. By only including the last 10 years or so of highly relevant experiences, it is difficult to determine an age, but easy to recognize the applicants value.
3. Look Youthful on Social Media
Welcome to the 21st century, where “privacy” is a joke and hiring managers are going to Google your name. How are you presenting yourself on social media.
If you have one, put up a professional looking photograph of yourself at a younger age. Don’t go too far out of bounds, but don’t worry — it is definitely acceptable to bend perceptions a little bit.
Do this especially on Linkedin, where it will be very easy for hiring managers to match your face to your name, and your prior work experience. Facebook, Google Plus, and other social media networks are more flexible, because there is at least some plausible deniability.
This logic extends to adding a photo to your resume as well. If you were thinking of including a resume picture, don’t because it’ll be an immediate giveaway to your age.
4. Keep Yourself Up To Date
You have licenses or certificates that you earned years ago – and if you don’t have computer skills to include in your resume, you’ll be dating yourself.
Stay current and up-to-date on certifications. If you include a certification date from a long time ago it will be a dead giveaway as to your true age. Staying current means staying employable.
Don’t forget to include knowledge of current software and web applications. If you need to brush up on your skills, or just learn how to be handy with basic applications such as PowerPoint and Excel, consider enrolling in a nighttime class.
Best of luck on getting the job, and staying forever young.