May 16, 2013
In many countries, age discrimination is against the law. That said, older job seekers still face some disadvantages in the job market. According to employment expert Alison Doyle, older workers may be perceived as “more expensive to hire, as having outdated experience or too much experience, or as not being current with today’s technology and workplaces.”
If you’re an older job seeker experiencing age-perception challenges, try applying our recommendations below. During the job search process, your primary goal should be to highlight your experience, skills, and accomplishments in a way that does not “date” you.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Remove dates on your resume. This includes your birth date, date of graduation, and even dates of employment if they can be avoided.
2. Include no more than 10-15 years of experience on your resume. Include only experience that is relevant to the jobs to which you are applying. Omit the rest.
3. Format your resume in a functional or combination format. In a functional format, list experience in a few key skill areas, rather than listing out each employer and dates of employment. A combination, or chrono-functional, resume is much like the functional format but also includes a bare-bones list of previous employers — after you’ve highlighted your key areas of experience. For more on resume types, check out the post Three Main Types of Resumes.
4. Fill in the gaps. In addition, if you notice that your skills are outdated based on the job requirements you’re applying to, take some classes to ensure your skills are current and include these on your resume. Many colleges offer online courses so you can keep up-to-date even at home.
5. Include accomplishments in your resume rather than listing out your previous responsibilities. Accomplishments that show an increase in revenue to previous companies or ways expenses were cut especially stand out to employers. Read more ways to make your resume stand out.
6. Show open-mindedness. Hiring managers may worry about a younger boss/older worker dynamic or high salary demands among older job seekers. But if you have no problem reporting to someone younger or you’re okay with a lower salary, be sure to communicate this during the interview process. You may observe other obvious generational characteristics specific to the hiring company. If the subject arises, talk about these positively.
7. Consider a career change. Some professions are overcrowded; others require physical strength and stamina. Sometimes, there’s just too big a gap between your skills and the ones required for the role, i.e., the job has evolved in a way that no longer makes you qualified. If you’re facing these types of realities, then consider changing careers. Think about other jobs, whether in the same or different industry, that require any special skills or knowledge that you can offer. Enjoy a particular hobby or interested in an emerging profession? Be open to entry-level positions in those areas.
8. Do volunteer work. The job search process can be isolating. Plus, it can feel as though you’re racing to minimize the time period between jobs in order to stay current in the job market. Find an organization with a cause you support and donate your time. If your volunteer role is a significant or relevant one, include it in your resume. It’s good to demonstrate that you’ve remained active in your profession or that you’ve successfully managed a project or team as a volunteer worker.
9. Keep your head up. No matter what your age, job searching is frustrating. Remain positive and active. Believe in yourself. Nothing squashes a job opportunity faster than an interviewee who wears his frustration on his sleeve. If your efforts have landed you an interview, show up as your best self. A confident job candidate is always a positive.
10. Try Simply Hired’s special search for jobs at age 50+ friendly companies.
Do you have other resume tips for older workers? Join in the conversation below!