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How to Write Your Resume to Overcome Age Bias


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Your resume is not an autobiography but a marketing document that you use to promote yourself. Readers want to know what you’ve accomplished and how you have contributed to the companies you’ve been associated with. But what you include in your resume can make or break your chance of getting the job you want, particularly if you are a younger or older applicant. In this guide, learn how to create a powerful resume that will help you overcome age bias.

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How to Write Your Resume to Overcome Age Bias

  1. 1. AGE BIAS / AGE DISCRIMINATION IN THE JOB SEARCH CAN BE A REAL ISSUE FOR SOME JOB SEARCHERS. Unfortunately, many job seekers make the problem worse simply by the way they structure and write their resume–including information that showcases rather than de-emphasizing age. Here are some tips on how to write your resume to overcome the problem of age discrimination.
  2. 2. DO TRIM YOUR RESUME BACK TO THE MOST RECENT 10, 15, OR 20 YEARS. Our resume is a marketing document. It is NOT an autobiography. Readers want to know what you have done recently to add value in the companies you have been associated with. Skills, experiences, and achievements from 25 or 30 years ago or more are almost certainly irrelevant at this point. But, if those early experiences are still relevant, you do have options…
  3. 3. DON’T BE AFRAID TO MENTION EARLY EXPERIENCE THAT IS STILL RELEVANT. Just don’t mention the dates associated with it. You might choose to highlight the undated achievements or qualifications in the summary profile section of your resume. Or, another effective strategy is to summarize that experience at the end of your resume. Your description should be concise. Just one or two sentences that begin with the words “Additional experience includes…” will usually suffice.
  4. 4. DO BE CREATIVE AND STRATEGIC IN HOW YOU LIST EMPLOYMENT DATES ON YOUR RESUME. Don’t feel locked in by the traditional way of including dates. For example, I recently worked with an executive candidate who had three years with his current employer but more than 35 years of progression with his last employer. Traditionally, on a resume, you would show the total span of years with each company and then the dates in each position (illustrating progression).
  5. 5. But this method clearly wouldn’t work for this client because he began working for that last employer sometime in the mid 1960s – a date that we did not want to include on the resume. So instead, we left off the total dates with each company and just listed dates in each position, going back approximately 15-20 years. Like this: Employer 1, location Current position (20xx – Present) Employer 2, location Position a (20xx – 20xx) Position b (19xx – 20xx) Position c (19xx – 19xx) Position d (19xx – 19xx) ** Additional experience includes…
  6. 6. DON’T LEAVE DATES OF EDUCATION OFF OF YOUR RESUME UNLESS YOU HAVE A GOOD STRATEGIC REASON TO DO SO. One of the most common errors that I see are dates of education left off the resume when they should not be left off. For example, if you earned your degree 15 years ago and began working in your current career track the same year, you will actually raise questions about your age by not including your degree dates.
  7. 7. The dates on your degree tend to close the “loop” and eliminate age-related questions in the mind of the resume recipient. But if you leave the dates off, the recipient will assume you are hiding your age and are older than your work experience indicates. On the other hand, if you have shortened your resume to the most recent 10, 15, or 20 years, and your most recent degree was earned earlier than a year or two before that cut off point, it is probably in your best interest to leave the dates off the resume.
  8. 8. DO BE PROUD OF YOUR AGE AND THE ASSOCIATED EXPERIENCE AND PERSPECTIVE THAT YOU BRING TO YOUR EMPLOYERS. Even though – in most cases – you should not emphasize and draw attention to your age, do recognize that you bring to the workplace a value offering unmatched by your younger competitors in the job market. Your self-assurance and confidence will come across in your resume and during interviews.
  9. 9. DON’T FORGET TO FILL YOUR RESUME WITH ACHIEVEMENTS AND RESULTS THAT ILLUSTRATE YOUR PERSONAL BRAND AND THE UNIQUE PROMISE OF VALUE THAT YOU BRING TO THE WORKPLACE. Position yourself for the position. Demonstrate through past accomplishments and value add that you are the perfect candidate for the job. When your resume is filled with achievements that illustrate you will deliver a strong return on an employer’s investment in hiring you, your age will NOT even be an issue.
  10. 10. DO CREATE A RESUME THAT SHOWCASES ACHIEVEMENTS THAT ILLUSTRATE THE TRAITS MOST VALUED IN OLDER WORKERS Your credibility, your depth and breadth of experience, your judgment and decision-making abilities, your range of professional contacts, your work ethic and reliability, your emotional stability, and your commitment to company goals. Subtly, in your resume and cover letter, touch on achievements that illustrate a high energy level, strong technical skills, and adaptability to change.
  11. 11. Michelle Dumas runs of one of the longest-standing and most respected professional résumé writing firms on the internet, Distinctive Career Services, LLC (dba Distinctive Documents). Since 1996, Michelle has empowered thousands of professionals with résumés that get results and win jobs fast. Get insider résumé writing tips that you won't find anywhere else at her website. Go now to The Internet’s Résumé & Career Marketing Specialists…Since 1996 (800) 644-9694 Copyright © 2015 Distinctive Career Services, LLC WWW.DISTINCTIVEWEB.COM