The threat of age discrimination or age bias may make you feel ill at ease as you approach the job market. However, fear of something over which you have no control and which may not even be an issue, can limit your enthusiasm and impede your ultimate success.
Since there’s no definitive way to know if your age will be a plus or minus factor in your application, it’s best to avoid second guessing any prospective employer and focus on what is sure to be an asset: your cadre of pertinent skills, experience and relevant education and training.
The initial way to present this information is via a professional résumé. As you put your best foot forward in this important document, you’ll want to avoid any indicators that will surely date you and convey to an employer that you are not current in your job seeking skills or knowledge of the marketplace.
Here are tips for conveying your knowledge about current best practices in resume writing in the job search:
- Create a winning Linkedin profile and include your customized URL on your resume. More than 80% of employers nationwide use Linkedin as a key talent resource and some job seekers are using this URL in lieu of a physical address.
- Whether you choose a traditional “chronological” format or a skills-oriented “functional” format for your resume, avoid listing an “Objective”. Instead, include a “Professional Profile” or “Qualifications Summary” that gives the reader a synopsis of your relevant background as opposed to a statement of what you want (which should be evident since you are applying for a specific job).
- Avoid unnecessary, extraneous information on your resume like “references furnished upon request”, personal data such as “married, 2 kids” or a list of your hobbies.
- Include only the years of past employment and not the months that detract from more important information.
- Don’t confuse the reader with several phone numbers (cell, home, work). List one number and create a professional-sounding outgoing message linked to it.
- Provide concise information about your experience; show results whenever possible and use strong and descriptive verbs to delineate your experience.
- Avoid including the year you graduated from college or graduate school. In most cases, this is an obvious giveaway about your age.
With a pro-active approach and positive mindset, you will shift from fears about your age to finding a great match between your job target and marketplace options.