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Resume Tips to Avoid Age Bias

January 31, 2022

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Age discrimination, although illegal, is real. Hiring managers—whether consciously or unconsciously—may discount older professionals, assuming they have outdated skills and will demand sky high salaries. The following strategies can help older admins create resumes that minimize age bias and maximize their chances of landing an interview—and a job.

Eliminate dates. Don’t disclose that you graduated college 35 years ago. Only state the degrees you received and the schools you attended—as well as any relevant certifications and professional development courses.

Don’t include your first few jobs. Avoid age bias by showcasing jobs within the last 10 to 15 years. (You can briefly reference “Additional Relevant Experience.”) State: “Over 10 years of experience," not "Over 25 years of experience." And keep your resume to no more than two pages.

Go non-chronological. Use a functional resume focused on skills and experience. Or use a combination resume format that details skills and qualifications upfront.  

Tailor your resume to each job. Use keywords from the job posting throughout your resume; focus on the specific skills and accomplishments the organization seeks.

Add a professional summary. In the summary—at the top of your resume—offer examples of how you’ve used the required skills to deliver results. Use quantifiable data (“Saved $X in travel costs.”) to meet the organization’s needs.

Showcase your tech skills. Employers want to know you’re familiar with the latest tech programs and apps. Say how you’ve used them to help recent employers. Provide links to any professional social media sites to showcase your skill with current social media trends.

Highlight LinkedIn. Having a LinkedIn profile is a must. Place your LinkedIn URL at the top of the resume, along with your contact information. (Of course, update your LinkedIn profile first.)

Use current technology. Create your resume with the latest version of Word; older versions may get distorted when they’re downloaded. Never use outdated email accounts. An AOL or Hotmail account will set off “older worker” bias bells. Switch to Gmail—or a personal account like [email protected] (Your email address should be your first and last name, not some offbeat moniker.)

Proof your resume. Reread your resume to catch typos/grammatical errors. Email yourself a copy to ensure the formatting holds up. Better: Create and send a PDF version so the resume looks exactly as you wish it to.

These strategies can help older professionals minimize age discrimination—and land the job they’re looking for!


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