Age may be a state of mind, but in many industries it could be the reason you’re not getting the call for an interview. Discrimination based on age is illegal, but sadly, it exists. In many cases, it is factored in even at the resume shortlisting phase. Sometimes, years of experience don’t exactly work in the favor of the applicant. So how do you prove your capability for the job? While it is difficult predict the outcome of an actual interview, here are a few tips to help you spruce up your resume, to at least land the initial interview call.
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1. Keep your resume up-to-date: Highlight your current or last job details, and get rid of old and irrelevant job experience. If your resume is running more than two pages, get rid of any experience that’s more than 15-20 years old. Even if you do remember your projects from your first job, you may not be able to provide references that far back who still vividly remember what you had done. Pay attention to the job description. If it mentions that they are looking for someone with 25-30 years of experience, then go ahead and add it in.
2. Get rid of the year of graduation: While this is optional, if you graduated a long time ago, adding this information is not necessary. The graduation years are usually helpful for recent grads to justify their lack of experience and to let the recruiter know that they’re just starting up. By adding your year of graduation, you are also inviting your recruiter to guess your age. While it is illegal to discriminate against candidates based on age, it’s also hard to prove. If you take your birth year off, you won’t have to wonder. By the same logic, there is no need to add your date of birth information either.
3. Stay current: Job descriptions, roles, and titles have evolved over the years. The job you did a while ago may not be relevant now or the title has changed. Keep your information current and relevant to the job requirements.
4. Customize, customize, customize: This rule applies to all job applicants, age notwithstanding. Customize your resume by highlighting your skills and experience that are relevant to the job. Pay attention to keywords and use them in your resume.
5. Create a LinkedIn profile: Your recruiter is going to look you up on the internet, to know more about you. You don’t have to have an extensive social media presence, but at the very least, have a LinkedIn profile, so you pop up in her search results. Keep your profile updated and consistent with your resume.
6. Share relevant contact information: As Marc Miller, author of Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers explains on LinkedIn, your contact information should be relevant to this day and age. Home addresses and home telephone numbers are a thing of the past. He suggests creating email IDs that are more current or using email forwarding service from professional societies, alumni groups, or even a personal domain name.
7. Give your resume a facelift: Check out sample resume formats available online and choose the one that best fits your profile. Older resume versions are no longer in use and don’t really add value to your application. As Deborah Walker explains over at Quint Careers, things have changed, from the number of pages to use, to the extent of information to be shared.
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