If you suspect age discrimination is crimping your job hunt, make sure that your resume is not part of the problem. Here's how to make yourself look younger (virtually, that is).
If you’re north of 50 (or even 40) and job hunting, you may be running into age discrimination. You have a lot to offer, but you just can’t get past the gatekeepers.
One problem may be your resume. You likely already know that an aol.com email address is passé, but were you aware that including a home address on a resume also makes you look behind the times? It’s a throwback to the days of snail mail. Nowadays, there’s really no reason to give out your physical address.
Ideally, your email address should be email@example.com — i.e., you should have your own domain name. But if you don’t, at least get a gmail.com email address. It’s what all the cool kids are doing.
Speaking of email, consider that numbers in an email address can give the wrong impression. For example, firstname.lastname@example.org could lead some employers to conclude that you were born in 1960 or, worse, graduated from school in 1960.
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Other tips you’re also probably familiar with are to scrub graduation dates and drop that first job. But did you know that even your skill set can date you? Make sure that all the software programs you list as knowing are still in use.
Look over your resume for any phrases that could be construed as old-fashioned; for example, “references available upon request.” Duh. Of course you will supply references to an interested employer. Also, be aware that “objective” statements are out, and summaries are in.
Do you list a home phone number alongside your cellphone number? Most people under 40 don’t have a “home phone” and may think those who do are less than with it.
These might seem like little things; they are. But even putting two spaces after a period can brand you as an old-school candidate.
Age discrimination is a real thing. Resume screeners are looking for any reason to say “no,” so don’t give them a chance. You don’t have to lie about your age, but you don’t have to give people an excuse to eliminate you for specious, age-related reasons, either.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at email@example.com.