Here we are again in a volatile job market. There is a lot of uncertainty and job insecurity. Before I opened Anew Resume and Career Services, I ran a local career center in San Diego County, California. I helped professionals navigate coming out of recession – changing jobs and sometimes industries altogether. It’s overwhelming when your plan to retire with a company in the 5, 10 years gets turned upside down due to circumstances out of your control. Let’s talk about one fear – age discrimination.
Age discrimination is illegal but remains one of the top three concerns my clients have when embarking on their job search. I recently had a client that retired from one industry and began looking for a new career. While she did retire, I explained that the word ‘retired’ denotes age and should be avoided on the resume and application. There is no need to write why you left a position or industry on your resume.
The dreaded technology questions. Are you concerned that you aren’t certified in the latest and greatest technology? Take a deep breath and relax. Technology is relative to each position and each industry. Let me share an example to put your mind at ease. And oddly enough, this example comes from a 22-year-old former employee of mine.
I conducted his hiring interview, and he stumbled over our technology question. We were hiring for our job seeker lab; we needed an assistant to help our clients navigate the technical part of the application process. I asked the potential candidate to rate his computer skills on a scale from 1-10. Full disclosure this phrase was required in our hiring process. When you come across questions in the hiring process that seems stale, they are usually required.
But back on track with the example. I asked the candidate to rate his computer skills on a scale from 1-10. He came back with 5. Now he was a fresh college graduate, and I knew this was incorrect. However, in my required hiring materials, I was not allowed to hire someone that claimed less than seven on the scale. I followed up on my question by asking why he chose a 5. His response, because he lacked knowledge of pivot tables in excel.
I promptly told him I also lacked that knowledge. I explained the expertise we required of excel for his position was the ability to enter data into pre-filled formula sheets correctly. We simply needed him to enter data. Then he said he was a 10. My point is to read the job description and figure out what technology is required for the position. Rate your ability on that curve.
The second piece of advice I have is to keep your resume between 10-15 years of work history. If you need or want to show more experience, LinkedIn is a great place to add the entirety of your work history and while simultaneously show you openly embrace technology.
You can also create a “Work History” or “Relevant Experience” section to add previous experience. How you create this section is by adding your title, company, and write out the years of experience. Think about this; no job description asks for more than 10-15 years of experience. What this means is the ATS (Applicant Tracking System) does not scan for more knowledge, and there is no need to place your dates in mm/yyyy format. In this section, add one or two bullets to show the main accomplishments. This section is especially helpful for professionals with company name recognition that falls outside the 10-15-year range. And this option is a win/win.
Finally, have confidence in your career. You have so much to offer. Age is a wonderful attribute!
Until next Tuesday…
Comment Below: When have you experienced age discrimination, and what did you do about it?