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5 ways to avoid age discrimination in your job search

Are you calling attention to your AGE—rather than your experience? If you’re sending out resumes in droves but your responses are minimal, it's a strong possibility. 

Here are 5 easy-to-implement changes that can increase your resume’s response rate (even if you’re in your 60’s):

1 – Focus on your latest decade of career history.
Does any employer really care what you did 25 years ago? Most hiring managers want to see fresh experience, and consider achievements from the past 10-15 years to be most relevant. Even though you’ll want to show much-needed progression up the career ladder, the main focus should be on what you’ve achieved lately.

However, if you just can’t let go of that Senior Engineer or Banking Manager title from the 80’s, add it (without dates) in a one-liner at the end of your professional history.

2 – Market more than your longevity.
Is your best accomplishment mere survival? It can look that way if you begin a resume summary with “…over 25 years in sales….”

Your strongest qualifications are better demonstrated by describing achievements that generated profits, cut bottom-line costs, or retained customers.

3 – Provide only relevant facts.
The date of every degree program is not the most enticing fodder for your resume. Consider that hiring managers won’t find it pertinent that your MBA was completed 18 years ago—and displaying that engineering degree from the 1970’s can actually kill your chances for consideration.

Most employers requiring a degree focus mainly on the program itself, with less emphasis on the graduation date. Cut the date, but keep the degree.

4 - Don’t make employers read a book.
If your strategy for updating your resume throughout the years was to just add your latest job, and then add the next, and the next… it’s time to stop.

Hiring authorities don’t have the time to wade through pages of your career to find out the relevance to their requirements. Summarize your credentials up front, and then chop—ruthlessly—from the back, until you’ve narrowed it to 2 or 3 pages.

5 – Leverage current resume trends.
Have you heard? The most effective resumes are now considered marketing documents, and the product is YOU.

Therefore, they deserve better than freeform typing using the default font on your computer.

Presentation is key when it comes to marketing your strengths. You can find attractive formats to spark fresh ideas for your resume by searching resume books or samples online.

Market qualifications, not age, as you advance your career to the next level so that you can reap the benefits of well-earned expertise by making a postive impression on employers.

Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CIC is an executive job search coach and resume expert whose work opens doors to top jobs at prestigious corporations. The principal of An Expert Resume, her resumes and job search tips have been featured in 8 career bestsellers.

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