As if turning 40 isn’t fun enough, now you get to start worrying about age discrimination in your job search. If you thought that colonoscopies, mammograms, and crown replacements were fun, wait until you join the party of applying for jobs while being considered an “older worker.”
I’m not writing this to depress anyone. But let’s face it: people do discriminate whether they want to admit it or not. The trick is not to give a hiring manager any opportunity for bias before they’ve had a chance to get to know how awesome you are (and you really are awesome). Read on to learn the #1 thing to do to avoid age discrimination in your job search.
The #1 Thing to Do to Avoid Age Discrimination in Your Job Search
As a 40+ job seeker myself, along with 20 years of experience as a career coach, here’s my take. The number one thing you can do to avoid age discrimination is to adapt.
For some people the word adapt is negative. It make even make you cringe a little. Adapting or changing is hard. But in our world of rapid technological advancement it is absolutely crucial to constantly adapt.
According to a recent article by MarketWatch, workers over 40 are half as likely to get a job offer than younger workers. This fact illustrates how important it is for mid to older professionals to learn how to minimize potential age bias in their job search.
See related: Five Signs You’re Ready for a Major Career Change
Use These Job Search Tips to Show You’re Adaptable:
Update Your Contact Information
I am going to be frank. If you are using AOL, Hotmail, or Yahoo, this is a major red flag to recruiters that you might not be up to speed on the latest technology. You can create a Gmail account for free and it only takes a few seconds. I also suggest creating a specific account for your job search and using a basic address like “email@example.com.”
Cutesy names like “nannajean” or “queenbeequilter” should also be avoided. Again, you don’t want anyone making premature assumptions about you.
See related: The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Resume
Show Your History (Without Looking Historical)
Another important tip (and this one is a biggie) is to omit the date of your college graduation. Unless you recently graduated (I’m talking like within the last few years) you do not need to include your year of graduation. Of course if you are filling out an application you might be required to include this information. But on a resume it is not required.
The general rule of thumb is to not include jobs that date past ten years. Unless it’s directly relevant to your current career goal, I recommend omitting older positions.
Avoid Outdated Language
Exclude phrases like “references available upon request” and broad terms like “team player.”
Using a resume objective is also seen as archaic in the eyes of many recruiters. Unless you are changing careers and are using a very specific objective, it’s best to stick with a targeted professional profile.
Writing something like “Over 25 years of experience” can make you look overqualified. Instead use words like “Experienced” and “Seasoned” when describing your experience and skills.
Highlight Skills & Training
Having a solid skills section on your resume is a great way to demonstrate your adaptability. If you are applying for a more technical position, rather than writing “Computer Skills” list your specific skills by category like programming languages, hardware, software, and apps.
Highlight any professional certifications, trainings, or conferences you have recently attended to show you are privy to the latest advancements in your targeted field. Make sure to also include professional associations and affiliations.
Beat the Bots
These days most Fortune 500 companies use some type of ATS (Applicant Tracking Software) to parse resumes. This is why it’s so important to target a different resume to every job you apply for. Include keywords from the job description so that you optimize your ATS score and your resume gets noticed.
See related: Is Your Resume ATS-Friendly?
Being adaptable is really the only way to stay afloat and thrive in today’s job market. Due to our increasingly virtual world, updating your skills and experience is much easier now than ever before. You can take courses or get training and certification all in the comfort of your own home!