Despite being illegal, age discrimination sadly still exists within today’s job market. It mainly affects older candidates, but it can happen to younger ones, too.
While it’s up to employers to ensure their recruitment processes are fair, there are a few steps you can take yourself to minimize the risk of falling victim to age bias, starting with your CV/resume.
Here are a few tips to help you age-proof your CV:
1. Remove unnecessary personal details
The only personal details you need to include are contact details, including your full name, email address, and phone number. You should not have your date of birth or a photograph.
Your email address should be simple and professional, for example, firstname.lastname@example.org. If this type of address is unavailable, consider adding a middle name. Don’t add your year of birth. You may also want to consider updating your email address if it ends with @hotmail or @live, as these are now regarded as outdated and can indicate age.
If you have a LinkedIn profile or a personal website or portfolio, it is a great idea to include these as they allow you to showcase your digital skills.
2. Avoid age-defining statements
Including a short personal profile at the top of your CV can be a great way to grab the hiring manager’s attention and give them a sense of who you are, your critical skills and experience, and your career goals. However, avoid using terms such as ‘seasoned professional’ or ‘young and eager’; aside from needlessly giving away your age, they’re also quite cliché. Moreover, when referring to years of experience, use terms such as ‘10+ years’ experience’ rather than ‘25 years’ experience’.
3. Tailor your CV
The object of a CV is to showcase the skills and experience most relevant to the position in question, so tailoring it to each role is essential. This also means only including your most current posts; it’s generally best not to refer to experiences much beyond ten years ago. Suppose you have particularly relevant skills from roles before ten years ago, or your (recent) work experience is limited. In that case, you may consider creating a skills-based CV instead of a chronological one.
4. Remove the dates against your education
There’s nothing wrong with adding dates for your education if you’re a recent graduate, but if the last time you attended university was more than ten years ago, it’s best to remove them. Something younger candidates should be careful of is placing too much emphasis on educational qualifications from school. This is fine if you’re a recent school leaver, but it’s less relevant if you’re a graduate, so keep it short and focus on your degree.
5. Keep it simple
Most businesses today use an applicant tracking system, or ATS, to scan your CV and search for relevant keywords. To optimize your chances of being selected by an ATS, you need to keep the formatting of your CV clean and straightforward. Adding graphics or using quirky fonts is not advised, as these could trip up the ATS, meaning your CV isn’t read correctly and goes straight into the ‘no’ pile.
6. Don’t include basic tech skills
Most employers expect candidates to have at least a working knowledge of the Microsoft Office Suite, specifically Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. You should not include these on your CV unless you are a certified software specialist. Also, do not include skills for outdated or defunct technology.
Your CV is your ticket to the interview, so take the time to review, edit, and update it before every application. This way, you can be sure it shows the best of what you have to offer and will stand out for all the right reasons.