In almost every chat room of unemployed boomers, the complaint about age discrimination gets broached. It's a real concern and a real issue, but have you considered if you unintentionally age yourself? Have you done all you can to remove the obvious clues in your resume that date you and put the question of age front and center of a hiring manager instead of removing the consideration? Here are four things I find on many resumes that I believe inadvertently prove you're older than you'd want a recruiter to believe.
Snail Mail. In this day and age, it truly doesn't matter where you live, unless you're a Boomer. Millennials, by contrast, live in a digital world run by text messaging and e-mail. Most Boomers start a resume with their name and home address. When unemployed, I took a different approach and never put my address on a resume. Instead, my resume started with my name, and email address. This served a few purposes. First, I was truly willing to relocate, so my address was a non-issue and could only create unnecessary obstacles. Secondly, I lived off the beaten track and didn't want even relatively local hiring managers to pre-judge my willingness to commute.
Home Phone. Every resume has a phone number on it so hiring managers can call at a moment's notice. Does your resume list a landline phone instead of a cell phone? Does it list two phone numbers, when only one would do? If you feel your competition is the younger generation, ask yourself what defines them. The answer likely is that they live on cell phones and don't pay for landlines. If you're addicted to keeping your landline as I am, at least have the grace to hide it from recruiters. It dates you. If you were 20 years younger, you wouldn't dream of having a landline, much less listing it on your resume, so why are you doing it in this hyper-competitive, youth-oriented environment?
LinkedIn. Do you have a LinkedIn Profile? LinkedIn is one of the first places today's recruiters go to check out a person before contacting them. Yet many older workers don't put their photo on their profile and haven't secured a shortened, personalized url. For instance, my resume started not only with my cell and email address, but my LinkedIn profile account. It looks like this: LinkedIn.com/in/YourName. Don't have one? Immediately hit the LinkedIn help library and get yourself your own name!
Profile Dates. While on the subject of LinkedIn, take a fresh look at your profile and see if you haven't revealed a bit too much. Older workers frequently take the graduation dates off their college degrees on resumes, but keep the dates on in LinkedIn. Recruiters are smart cookies. They use Linked In to verify if a resume matches what's presented in other arenas and get more clues about an applicant. To remove dates already on degrees in LinkedIn, just go to the drop down options on dates and look to the future – ahead of 2016. You'll see dashes as LinkedIn knows people can't yet have that forward a date. Choose the dashes and your degree dates will magically disappear. (Psst -- a recruiter taught me this trick).
Worried about age discrimination? Go on the offense. Do a self-audit of your resume. With fresh eyes ask yourself if you were a hiring manager, could you guess your age? If the answer is "yes," it's time to give your resume, not yourself, the facelift.
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