How To Age-Proof Your Resume
Updated June 24, 2022
While it used to be common for recruiters to ask for your age, legislation has since prevented them from doing so. Despite this, some job applicants continue to include it on their job application. Knowing whether or not to include your age on your resume can help improve your chances of moving forward in the hiring process. In this article, we address whether to include your age on your resume and when not to include it, provide you with tips for age-proofing your resume and list other information to exclude from your resume.
Should you include your age on your resume?
You do not need to include your age on your resume. In fact, including it can put you at a disadvantage as it leaves recruiters and hiring managers with the opportunity to discriminate you based on your age. If you're an older working professional, leaving off your age can help you stay competitive among younger working professionals in the workforce. While it's technically up to you on whether or not to include your age, it's worth noting that it's not legal for employers to request your date of birth.
Related: Job Cast: Avoiding Ageism
When not to include your age on your resume
While it's ultimately your decision, it's best to always exclude your age from your resume. Doing so prevents hiring managers from discriminating you based on your age. For example, if a younger applicant and an older applicant apply for the job, a hiring manager may decide to hire the younger applicant even if the older applicant fits the role better. If the older applicant avoided listing their age, they may have had a greater chance of getting the job. Therefore, under all circumstances, it's best to avoid listing your age or date of birth on your resume.
Tips for age-proofing your resume
Even if you don't include your age on your resume, hiring managers can still estimate your age range through the dates you list on your resume via your education, work experience and certifications. Fortunately, there are many ways to age-proof your resume to ensure hiring managers look at your resume objectively. Use these tips to age-proof your resume effectively:
Focus on your most recent experience
When employers hire new employees, they want candidates who have recent experience in the position they're hiring for. In other words, they're not interested in knowing what you did as an entry-level employee years ago if it doesn't relate to the position you applied for. Instead of highlight any relevant experience, focus on your most recent experience that relates to the job. Since your earlier work loses its relevance the further you advance in your career, it's best to elaborate on the jobs you held within the past 10-15 years.
Remove older dates
If you have certifications, education or work experience that are over 15 years old, remove any date you listed. For example, if you mention a certification you earned 20 years ago, don't state that you earned it 20 years ago—remove the date altogether. Even if you still have the skills required for the certification, the hiring manager will likely find your certification and skills outdated. If you earned your bachelor's degree many years ago, avoid mentioning the date you earned it as this can alert hiring managers that you're an older job applicant. Instead, just list the degree, your field of study and the institution where you earned it.
Tailor your resume
Instead of listing every job you've ever had, focus on the positions that relate to the job you're applying for. Even if you have experience in many industries or you have many diverse skills, keep in mind that hiring managers mostly want to know whether or not you can do the job they're actually hiring for. When you meet their qualifications, you're more likely to advance in the hiring process despite your age.
Use applicable keywords
Since most hiring managers use an applicant tracking system to scan your resume, it's important to get the software's attention by using relevant keywords on your resume. Even if you're a qualified candidate, not keeping an applicant tracking system in mind can hurt your chances of advancing in the hiring process.
Review the job post as you write your resume and take note of any keywords or phrases mentioned. Then, include any keywords that apply to your experience on your resume. For example, if you continuously see "communication skills" listed on a job post, make sure to include it on your resume if you have this skill. Using the applicable keywords can help hiring managers focus on your qualifications rather than your age.
Update your email address
To reassure hiring managers that you're technologically savvy, make sure you're using a professional email address. Incorporate your name in your email address such as "email@example.com" or "firstname.lastname@example.org."
Use your mobile phone number
Instead of listing your landline on your resume, opt for your mobile phone number. Listing your mobile number allows hiring managers to reach you when you're on-the-go. In addition, make sure to to have a professional voicemail message.
Highlight your technical abilities
As a job applicant, it's important to show employers that you've kept up with the latest technological trends, tools and platforms. Even if you're not applying for a technical job, consider including a small section at the bottom of your resume that highlights any technical proficiencies you have. If you don't have many technical proficiencies that align with the job you're applying for, consider taking a few online courses.
Establish a visual balance
A well-organized resume can improve your chances of getting your resume noticed by a hiring manager. Make sure to only use short blurbs and bullet points to make it easier for the hiring manager to scan your resume and find the information they're looking for. Having a clean and well-thought-out resume design shows you're up-to-date with the latest resume trends.
Focus on your achievements rather than your duties
While employers like to know about your previous work experience, they're more concerned with what you learned from these experiences. Apart from listing your previous responsibilities, you can also add a list of bullet points to describe your accomplishments as they relate to each of these roles. For example, you can highlight a major contribution you made or a result you achieved. Doing this allows hiring managers to focus on what they care about most: your qualifications. Quantify any of your accomplishments to give them greater insight into your contributions and successes as an employee. He
Other things to exclude from your resume
Apart from your age, you should also exclude other personal information from your resume. Excluding certain information allows hiring managers to review your resume objectively and gives you a better chance of getting an interview or a job based on your skills and experience rather than your personal opinions or who you are as a person. It essentially allows hiring managers to spend more time focusing on your qualifications and what makes you a great fit for their open position. Here are some other things you should exclude from your resume:
Political party or leanings
Even if a hiring manager doesn't have any prejudice, excluding this information can give you peace of mind regarding the handling of your job application.
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