Ageism, is real.
Ageism, is wrong.
Ageism, is very difficult to detect and call out.
Ageism, is bullshit.
So if we know that ageism is a major problem, that we can’t necessarily control, what CAN we as job seekers control on our end, particularly on our resume and LinkedIn, in order to avoid age discrimination in our job search?
Ageism is reflective of bias. It’s very difficult for us to do anything about others’ biases. But what we can do is be protective of some of our information that might fuel that bias.
While age discrimination can occur to anyone at any age, and the advice I’m about to give you in this video can be applied to many people of many different ages, my focus is going to be on older job seekers, for a couple reasons:
I largely work with senior executives who are often, older.
Statistics show that older workers are more negatively affected by ageism than younger workers.
So let’s jump into a couple ways that we can use our resume and LinkedIn to beat ageism and get hired.
Deleting Graduation Dates
When I’m working with clients of all ages one of the first things I do when building my resume is to remove dates from their education section.
The reason we do this is because including graduation dates on her resume is one of the easiest ways to give away our age. For most of us if we include our bachelors degree graduation date that can typically indicate that we were around 22 during that time so all someone has to do is look at that date and consider the current date and do the math to figure out how old we might be.
We don’t want to give anyone the opportunity to do this malicious math.
So let’s take a look on the resume how this would actually appear without dates.
In the video we’ve got Creed’s resume and his education section. We filled out his supposed degree but who knows Creed led a bit of a mysterious life.
If we were to include dates of graduation for Creed they would go on the right hand side against the right in margin but in this case we just leave the dates blank.
Let’s take a look at how this would appear on LinkedIn.
I made a video specifically about the LinkedIn education section a while back.
One of the little known thanks about LinkedIn is that you can actually enter education without the dates there’s no obligation to include dates in your education on LinkedIn so let me show you how.
In the video we’re looking at Creed’s LinkedIn profile, well actually my LinkedIn profile, and I’m about to enter Creed’s bachelor degree. When I get to the point where I’m asked to include the graduation dates I just leave those blank like this. It’s that easy.
Dealing with Old Work Experience
Let’s talk a bit about old work experience. One of the major pitfalls I see with resume writing is jobseekers eliminate older jobs from their resume simply because they think they’re old. You may have heard some advice online about only showing work experience that is 15 years old or more recent in cutting anything that’s older than that timeframe. I don’t agree with this advice.
The reason that I don’t agree with this advice is because when we start chopping jobs simply because they’re old we can run the risk of eliminating relevant work experience as well as losing a large portion of our story or career.
It doesn’t make sense for example that if you’ve been in management for the last 15 or more years that the first job that you show on your resume is manager because no one graduates University and goes right into a manager role.
So let’s take a look at a couple scenarios for addressing your earlier work on your resume while still keeping your age discrete.
Early Career Highlights
So one of the ways to honour your earlier career work experience is to create an early careers highlight section on your resume that will be the last section in your work experience. In the video we’re taking a look at Creed’s resume and how that might look.
We append the early career highlights section after Creed’s professional experience section on his resume.
What we’re going to do with this early career highlights section is to highlight the best accomplishments from the earlier part of Creed‘s career where we don’t want to reveal the years for the particular jobs that were at the beginning or very early part of his career.
What we want to do with this highlight section as well as to make sure that anything that we share here shows career progression and is written in a way that is relevant and resonates towards the target employer and target job. Just because it’s early in our career doesn’t mean that we can forget about making sure that what we write here is relevant.
So let’s say Creed is in a situation where he has some early work experience that is super relevant and shows his qualifications towards his target job in a very specific way.
We can actually use a career highlight section early on our first page of our resume to bring forward that super relevance experience and accomplishments.
And this is how it would look on Creed’s resume.
I like to place this section right under the professional profile paragraph on resumes so that it is front and centre and a reader can easily get important information fast.
The great thing about using these highlights sections is we don’t need to include any dates.
Showcasing Tech Proficiency
If you’ve been watching my videos I’ve been going on and on and on and on about tech proficiency.
With the pandemic as you know, being tech proficient could not be more important because it actually enables us to do the work that we do.
But tech proficiency or lack thereof is one of the awful assumptions that ageist people make about people based on their age.
People assume the older workers are not as proficient with tech for absolutely no reason.
And they also presume that younger workers are great with tech for absolutely no reason.
Age and tech proficiency have no relationship.
That said, for all of us, it’s important to showcase our proficiency with the tech that would be used in our target role.
So we will want to include desirable tech skills in our skills section of our resumes. We can uncover desirable tech skills by taking a close look at target job postings.
We also will want to pepper into our resume accomplishments that demonstrate our proficiency in that tech.
These accomplishments might include:
- How we improved something like a process, using tech
- How we saved time or money, using tech
- How we proactively did something or saved a headache, using tech
The list is endless, but what we’re going for is showing that we know tech, we know how to use it, and we know how to get results with it.
While much of this video is about keeping our age discreet, what I don’t want you to do is keep your story under lock and key.
Of course, share relevant stories in your resume.
But this is also where LinkedIn comes in.
Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is full and complete. That includes:
- A well-written headline that names your target job title and the main solution you create
- A summary or about section that speaks to the evolution of your career, where you’ve been and where you’re headed
- Includes each of your roles, and uses the description section to talk about what you loved about each role and what you were proud of accomplishing
While on your resume I recommended using an early career highlights or a career highlights section to include earlier accomplishments without dates, LinkedIn doesn’t offer the same feature.
So I do recommend cutting super early jobs as needed, and then in the first job you do list, include a story about how you got there. This would include details of your earlier work.
You can also include career highlights in your summary or about section.
Are you worried about your age in your job search? Which of these tools are you going to apply? Tell me in the comments below!