The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, commonly known as the ADEA, officially banned employers from discriminating against candidates due to age. Despite this law, some employers may subconsciously pass on candidates due to their perceived age from clues on their resume. With the rise of the technology and social media, subconscious age bias may seem unavoidable to a jobseeker –both in and outside of the professional world.
In today’s market, many hiring leaders, unfortunately, assume that more seasoned workers are unable to keep up with the rapid changes in technology. On the other side of the spectrum, younger professionals who are committed to their careers may be perceived as too green or immature for a role –even if their track record says otherwise. These perceived notions can cause some hiring leaders to cast aside a candidate’s resume without giving it a second glance.
Below are some tips to assist in building a resume that protects you from any subconscious generation bias.
1. Take off Graduation Dates
Graduation dates can be a big give away on someone’s age. Keep the highest level of education, but do not include the date the degree was obtained.
2. List Most Recent Employment History
Seasoned employees who have a lengthy work history might have their experiences work against them. They can be perceived as overqualified, inexperienced with technology, or have too lofty of pay expectations.
To avoid this, include 10-15 years max on your resume. Keep your relevant work history to which you are applying. Try to put any relevant experience gained over 10-15 years ago in the “Additional Skills” section of your resume.
3. Set up a LinkedIn Profile
In the job market today, employers will check social media pages. Creating a LinkedIn profile shows you are current with technology platforms. Put a short paragraph about your professional experience in the “About Me” section and upload a professional photograph.
If you utilize any other social platforms e.g. Facebook, Instagram, and or Twitter ensure those accounts are private and/or clean to the eye of the viewer.
4. Highlight Your Technology Skills
In today’s world, technology is king. To ease any employer doubts about your technological proficiencies, highlight the systems and software you used at previous organizations.
List your software experience in a separate section and/or build into your employment history detail. The more technologically savvy you come across, the better your chances are of being called in to interview.
5. Emphasize Desirable Skills
Before creating your resume, examine the skills required for the positions you are applying to. If you have any of these skills, list them in the same order you see them listed on the job description. However, be honest about the ones you have.
If you have never utilized SAP or Salesforce, do not list it as a skill; you will be questioned on your expertise in the interview, and getting caught in a lie is a sure-fire way to kill your chances of getting a job offer.
Bringing It All Together
Even though it may seem difficult, it is possible to protect yourself against age bias in your job search. Using these simple tips will allow an employer to focus on the value and skills you have, and less on subconsciously assuming certain professional traits because of the year you were born.
Remember, don’t sell yourself short! The most important part about searching for a job is authenticity; if you are honest in presenting your past experiences and present the most current version of yourself to potential employers, your professional value is sure to shine through.