Forty might be the new twenty in the eyes of the world. However, that’s not necessarily the mindset when it comes to prospective employers. Truth be told, your age may well be impeding your job search.
Did you know that an “older worker” is now defined as someone who grew up listening to 80’s rock or was a kid during the Reagan administration? So, what does that mean to you?
We took an informal survey of our own to determine what others classified as older job seekers. A select few said that age just shouldn’t matter. The majority pinpointed 50 as the onset of age discrimination. A recruiter confided that employers actually prefer looking at candidates under the age of 40.
Could age be the reason you aren’t getting an interview in the first place? Absolutely. While it’s doubtful that you are attaching your birth certificate to job applications, there’s a huge chance your resume is telling the story.
All things considered, your first objective is to get in the door. Once you’re there, you can sell yourself. Your resume is your calling card and chance to put your best foot forward.
Age and Your Resume
Ironically, the very reason you’re searching for a job may have everything to do with ageism. Although your employer surely won’t own up to age discrimination, it’s possible that you were laid off because you were getting older. At the time, you might just think it’s because your earnings surpassed those of younger colleagues.
Putting a resume together at any age is a challenge. If you think your age might work against you, you need to be careful about leaving clues scattered throughout your resume. For starters, there’s nothing wrong with eliminating the dates associated with your college education.
Consider your work history. Contrary to popular belief, your resume doesn’t have to include every job you’ve had since you first started in the workforce. Limit your history to no more than ten or fifteen years.
Have you worked at the same company for a few decades? If you’ve moved up the ranks, you may want to differentiate your positions. While longevity might seem impressive, some prospective employers may think you are stale and outdated.
Your resume should demonstrate that you are current as far as the changes in your field. Also, it should show that you are competent and offer new ideas.
Recruiters and hiring managers suggest a common theme when reviewing resumes. It’s not what you can do – it’s what you have done that matters. This often makes for the best transition into new positions. (Ability does not translate to action….performance does!)
That said, many of your acquired skills may be transferred outside of your career path, thereby broadening your opportunity base. Know what type of job you are looking for when you write both your resume and cover letter. Make sure you’ve covered keywords that will get you past computer systems that scan resumes.
You shouldn’t just update your resume, but rather give it a critical eye so that you present your best impression. Sometimes that may even mean consulting a professional to help you put your best foot forward.