The world moves pretty fast, and smart employers recognize that they need to be ready to innovate and adapt at a moment's notice. But this focus on rapid evolution has many older employees worrying that their age may be having a negative effect on their ability to land promising new jobs.
We spoke to several experts for tips about how job seekers can appear ageless on their resumes.
One simple and straightforward way to downplay your age is to remove graduation dates from your resume. Of course, this omission is not likely to go unnoticed. "If you do choose this option, you must be prepared to answer the question: Gee, where's your date of graduation? Or, why did you leave it off the resume?" Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide points out.
When questions like these come up, Cohen suggests bringing the focus back to the job. He even offers a template response: 'I left it off intentionally. My recent experience and skills are so strong that I didn't want to clutter the resume with unnecessary information that would distract from my potential to hit the ground running immediately.'" Responses like this not only address the age issue, but also demonstrate confidence in your own ability.
Resumes are all about first impressions, and a savvy recruiter or hiring manager may be able to estimate your age based on your resume before even seeing your graduation date. "The key to appearing 'ageless' or 'with the times' would be in how you brand yourself in your resume," says Noelle Gross, career coach and founder of Noelle Gross Career Strategy. "There are resume design services that will make your resume stand out as being amongst the most modern in the stack of resumes. Perception is everything so having some cutting edge design can really work in your favor."
For more information on how to modernize your resume, check out this article or head over to CB-Resume for a more in-depth analysis of your resume needs.
One of the chief concerns employers may have with hiring older workers is their ability or willingness to change their habits to keep up with modernization. "In order to downplay your age, an applicant needs to be forward-thinking. This means they would need a firm grasp of new technologies, social media and an online portfolio," says Patrice Rice, CEO of Patrice & Associates. "Overall, his or her drive for self-improvement needs to be apparent."
Demonstrate to employers that your age doesn't affect your ability to stay current. Maintain an active social media presence and stay up to date with new technologies in your industry. "When these qualities are highlighted, an employer will look less at age and more at the candidate's drive to evolve," adds Rice.
You're probably already aware of the importance of having an appropriate email address, but that's not necessarily all that hiring managers will notice. "When you email your resume, one of the first things the recruiter will see is your email address," says Laura Gmeinder, career coach at Laura Gmeinder Coaching & Consulting, LLC. "What does your email address reveal about your age? I recommend getting a new email address either branding yourself with a domain or setting up a gmail account or the like. Remember to keep it professional!"
Remember, employers generally aren't concerned about your age in and of itself, but rather it's potential implications. Show them that you're up to date on modern professional trends and new technologies, and you can dispel their concerns and refocus the conversation on why you are the perfect candidate for them.