The most recent employment update to come out from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) puts the U.S. unemployment rate at a 50-year low at 3.4%, with some fields like accounting and finance coming in lower, and jobs added to the economy far exceeding experts’ predictions. And even with mass tech layoffs in recent weeks, many professionals continue to change jobs in search of better pay, benefits and remote work options without a second thought.
However, even with record-breaking hiring levels, not everyone is able to find new roles so easily.
Recent data shows older U.S. professionals are landing new positions at a slower pace than their younger counterparts, especially women and minorities.
While age should not factor into any hiring manager, recruiter or human resources professional’s selection process, there is often an unconscious bias regarding experience and age that could go unspoken.
Are they overqualified? Will they expect higher pay? Will they need more benefits?
Whatever the case, as a job seeker, it is good practice to rid your resume of any details that might give away your age during your job search.
With that said, hiring managers should be making a conscious effort to take age out of the equation when considering the qualifications and skillset of the candidate.
So, how can you leave your age out of the conversation while searching for a new role? Read on for 8 Ways to Overcome Ageism During Your Job Search.
- Remove your graduation date. Simply listing the school, city and degree is sufficient when showcasing your education. You do not need to include the month and year if you graduated more than a decade ago. This applies to all levels of education, from high school through doctorate. For any certifications, it’s essential to list the date of
expiration. Other than that, it’s best to leave the dates off.
- Only include the past ten years or the most relevant experience. Often, your recent experience will be the most pertinent to the new role you are vying for—or at the very least, your experience gained within the last ten years. Therefore, you should leave off experience any further out than that. Older roles may not provide much value and can date you, mainly if the background includes out-of-date technologies, old company names or other snooze-worthy skills.
- Update your skills and technology experience. Speaking of skills, be sure to list your most current skillset. Have you recently overseen a team? Did you take on new responsibilities in a leadership capacity? Include what is relevant, new and timely. Also, update the list of technologies where you have gained the most proficiency, especially by naming the latest versions or releases for those products. Be sure to remove any software or system names that are no longer in production or use.
- Stay up to date on the latest trends. Someone may exhibit unconscious bias towards older generations because they believe they are not in touch with what’s happening in today’s world. Be sure to brush up on the latest trends occurring in the workplace, including terminology, current events and topics. Read or subscribe to various news outlets to stay apprised of what people are talking about. If you’re able to speak to current business, demonstrate that you are “in the know” — it will show you’re still fresh and spry. If you are lacking in any areas, consider taking an online course, signing up for a webinar or doing your own research. This can help you remain relevant with ease.
- Update your email address. Having an out-of-date email provider is a sure way to give away your age. No one from the millennial or gen-z generations uses AOL, Hotmail or Yahoo! these days. You should ditch those providers now and create a Gmail account STAT. It’s easy to do, free and will bring you up to speed. Also, do not use your birth year as part of your email address. Use a combination of your first and last name, and throw in a middle initial if your address is taken.
- Sync up your resume and LinkedIn profile. First off, make sure you have a LinkedIn profile. Most professionals do and should in 2023. If you don’t, that could come across as a red flag that you’re not who you say you are, that you’re hiding something or that you are not tech-savvy. Then, ensure your LinkedIn profile is complete, including a profile photo, a custom URL, an About section, recommendations, and all other fields filled out. The information must match what you include on your resume; otherwise, there can be questions about its validity.
- Consider fractional opportunities. If you’re nearing retirement, one way to embrace this final career chapter is to consider fractional or consulting opportunities. While fractional work refers to short-term contracts with multiple employers, consulting typically refers to working with one company for a designated period. Both options allow you to
create and maintain your schedule while putting forth your expertise at the project level, and both have pros and cons.
- Have energy. Some stereotypes of older generations are that they’re awaiting retirement with one foot out the door. Or that due to their age, they’re slow and tired. If you have energy and can keep up with your teammates of all ages, this should not matter. Be sure to stay upbeat during the interview, smile and show you have energy, know your current events and technologies, and the hiring company will jump at the opportunity to hire you.
What are some other best practices to age-proof yourself during your job search? Share your comments in the section below and let us know.
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