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4 Tips to Avoid Ageism on Your Resume

Although illegal in the US, “ageism is alive and well” according to an HR leader during a recent conversation. However, with some minor adjustments to your resume, you can position yourself as a valuable asset to win more interviews without giving away too many details that would otherwise just date your experience. 

Here are four ways to capitalize on your extensive experience while competing against younger candidates in a rapidly changing job market. 

1. Only List Experience up to 10-15 Years Old

The first sign of an older applicant is a lengthy resume that includes a laundry list of everything you’ve ever done. Chances are, any experience beyond 10-15 years ago is no longer relevant to where you are as a professional now and where you want to go. 

Removing earlier roles not only keeps your resume brief and easy to read but also ensures your most relevant and impactful work does not get lost in unnecessary details. 

If you still want to list select job titles, well-known companies, or significant achievements from earlier than 2005, you can include a section that says "Early career roles include" and just list your titles, company names, and maybe a bulleted accomplishment or two, but no dates. 

2. Remove Dates from your Education Section

No one needs to know the year you graduated from college, and high school should be removed entirely (even if you don’t have a college degree). The exception to this rule is if you are currently working your way through a degree program. In that case, list the expected graduation date to show that it is not yet complete and to demonstrate how far into the program you are. 

Listing dates from the 1970s or 1980s is not doing you any favors, especially since it is completely irrelevant if you’ve grown in your career or kept up to date in your field through other professional development and training. 

3. Keep Your Experience & Training Current

To combat the idea that your experience may be out of date, make a special effort to complete new training or certifications (and add them to your resume). This shows that you are committed to staying current in your field and that you are open to growth and change. For ideas on where to find low-cost training opportunities, check out this post

4.  Modernize Your Resume

Having “old school” phrases or information on your resume can also date you as a candidate and affect age-related biases. Here is a list of things to watch out for:

- Hotmail, Yahoo, or AOL e-mail addresses can make you look dated when it comes to technology. Sign up for a free Gmail address instead (and check it regularly).

- Listing “References Available Upon Request”. This should be removed from your resume because everyone assumes you will be able to provide references if requested.

- Including your full street address. Because no one is going to mail you anything, just listing your city and state is plenty.

- Providing a home phone number with your mobile number. There is no reason to include two phone numbers and it’s unhelpful to indicate that you still have (and use) a landline. 

- Having an “Objective” statement at the top. Instead, include a career summary that highlights your qualifications and experience relevant to your targeted position. 

If you want the latest information on resume and job search best practices, reach out to us at D&S Professional Coaching. We are committed to staying on top of the rapidly changing job market and can help you compete for top jobs in your field. 


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