Thursday, October 10, 2013

Will My Age Hurt Me in Landing a Job?

Yesterday I overheard one of my colleagues speaking with a candidate about their resume. He asks why they didn't include any dates of employment. The response from the candidate was that he was instructed to leave dates off in an attempt to mask his age.

Frequently I’m asked the question by candidates, “Do you think my age will hurt me?”

The reality is that there will always be age discrimination in hiring decisions. It’s is a shame, but there will always be those making hiring decisions using age as a decision-making factor in their process. That’s just never going to change. However, I truly believe the majority of hiring managers do the right thing and base their decisions strictly on skills and applicable experiences as well as other factors, but do not allow age to enter into their selection.

In fact I have to say that I have seen more of my clients specifically saying that they are looking for someone with seasoning. And I believe that is true because companies are doing more with less and they need an impact player immediately as they don’t have the luxury of time to train someone.  Budgets are tight and every hire has to make a difference as quickly as possible.

So what do you do with the resume? Don’t leave off dates. If you do, you will either be eliminated because you left them off, or you will be asked to include them on a revised resume. Instead simply include your last 10 to 15 years of experience and then include a section entitled previous work history to include…..and leave dates out in that section and just summarize the experience. Or you could even state, “Previous employment provided upon request.”

50 is the new 40 and 40 is the new 30 right?  Attitude and outlook play a huge part in a person’s perceived age. Other than nasty tricks mother nature plays on us, age to a degree is just a number. I often hear from people that they are a young “whatever the number may be.”  And I believe this as I feel the same about myself. I’d put my energy and stamina against any 20 something.  I start my day at 3:30AM and end it only when I have finished what I set out to do that day. People tell me I look ten years or more younger than I am. I’m no Dick Clark freak of nature so I know plenty of other folks out there are just like me.

So while age discrimination may never disappear, in this market I feel as though it is less of a factor than in years past. Instead it’s not about that for many job seekers. It’s not about you. It’s about the job market. Keep positive and stay focused. Do something every day that moves you towards your goal.  

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