Ageism and age discrimination can be a real problem when you're over 50 and trying to find a job. No matter what your qualifications and enthusiasm for a position, some employers won't seriously consider you if your resume makes you look too old.
Hiding your age on a resume to get your foot in the door isn't as simple as leaving a few dates off it. Instead, you need to make your resume look current and suited for the digital age. This means creating one that may be a lot different than the last ones you sent out a decade (or more) ago.
Here are some tips you can use when building your resume:
1. Include updated digital contact information
Today, most professionals communicate online more than they do in person. Make yourself easy to reach -- and keep current with the way the modern workforce functions. Your resume should include:
- A cell phone number where employers can reach you
- Your LinkedIn profile
- A business email account
Make sure that you take a moment and fix the message on your cell phone that plays when you don't answer the phone. Leave a personal, but professional, greeting in your own voice.
Set up an email account that sounds professional by combining your first name or initial with your last name or initial and a number -- and get a web-based account like Gmail. If you're currently using an AOL or Hotmail account, you'll automatically look dated.
So much professional networking happens through LinkedIn that you'd be remiss if you don't fill out at least the experience and summary sections and include a quality headshot for your profile.
2. Stay specific and focused on the important sections
You need to offer specific, focused information about your skills and experience. In your summary, offer details about yourself that specifically address the requirements listed for the ideal candidate. In the experience section, focus on your achievements from the last decade. Keep your statements brief and don't include dates. Avoid generic language and descriptions like "hard worker" and "team player." Instead, illustrate those ideas with your accomplishments.
If you've been the victim of age discrimination at work or while seeking employment, an attorney can help you understand your options for redress.