[05.25.10]
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If You Discriminate, I Am 44

This post is about age discrimination during job search. It’s real.

age discrimination, ageism, aging, discrimination, during, employment, hid, job interview, Job Search, jobs, labor, management, professional resume, recruitment, resume, social issues, social philosophy, social psychology, tell, told people, video resume

You will never put this on top of your professional resume. Whether you are 24, 44 or 64.

But sometimes the job search can get very frustrating. To the point that you might think about doing something like this to get a point across.

The point being that a company or hiring manager that uses age discrimination will eventually learn that you are not 32.  And will allow that bias to influence them.  So we might as well just tell them up front, right?

The other option that many try is the opposite.  You go out of your way to hide your age.  Leaving your first three jobs off of your professional resume.  And removing the graduating dates from your education summary.

And I don’t blame you for doing that to avoid age discrimination.

The problem is that everyone knows that if the dates aren’t there, you are probably older than you’d like to admit. And if the first job on your resume was “Director of Finance”, it probably wasn’t your first. You are hiding something.

So what if we stopped hiding? Became less driven by the possibility of age discrimination in employment?

And I know that many of you will share stories of more honest resumes getting no reaction. No response at all. Until you made changes like the ones above to make your age less obvious.

Here’s the rationale for why people do this:

If I can make my age less obvious on a professional resume, I will at least have a chance during a face-to-face interview to show what I can do. To show my energy, up-to-date skills, and smarts. To hopefully remove age as an issue for the hiring manager.

And I’m sure there are examples out there of this being the case. But it also could be that age was never an issue. You simply got through the interview for all the right reasons. You were qualified, skilled and a good fit for the company culture.

I’m not going to tell you to stop shaving years off your resume

After all, the resume is a marketing document. There to highlight relevant information to a hiring company. And age is not relevant.

But if you are 40+, I will tell you (you especially) to:

Stop relying on your resume to get you a job

Rely on your career network.  The people that know you. Know your work and work style. In my opinion, the introduction and recommendation from your network is a more successful distraction than leaving off dates and jobs. It is a more confident step forward.

Avoid applying for jobs that are one or two levels below your last position

They may be in your industry or a good fit for your function. But this can make the age issue more prominent. Especially if their issue is really less about age and more about where you are in your career. I know it is hard to ignore a job listing that has relevance. But you need to be more targeted as you look for your next role.

What has your experience been with age discrimination in employment? 

Have you ever felt like adding this stamp to the top of your resume?


Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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Categories: Cover Letters And Resumes

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