Are you scaring off employers with your resume? There are several resume writing mistakes that will prevent you from getting the interviews you deserve, but one of the largest turn-offs for employers can be an older candidate.
Why is age discrimination still an issue? The answer may surprise you. When a hiring professional is screening resumes to find a candidate, they have certain problems that this candidate needs to solve. These typically relate to your qualifications. In the modern job market, screening resumes for the right fit is equally as important.
Older candidates can present themselves to employers as valuable assets to the company, but they can also mistakenly present themselves as overqualified or difficult to work with depending on your background. There are several resume writing techniques that professionals use to downplay age and focus more on relevant qualifications.
Does your resume have any of these three details that imply your age in a negative way?
An Objective Statement
You are scaring off employers with your Objective Statement! Why? This is such an outdated resume writing section, and it immediately tells an employer you haven't written a resume since high school. Objective Statements were most commonly found on resumes written in the 1990's.
A modern job seeker needs to explicitly identify to the hiring professional which of their problems you are going to solve and how. This is not accomplished in a statement starting with "Seeking employment/a position/etc." It is no longer enough to say, "I want to work for you!" You must sell yourself and your skills as a valuable asset.
This concept is no secret. Any professional, experienced resume writer will tell you the same thing. If your resume starts with an outdated Objective Statement, you show an employer your age in a negative way.
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More Than 15 Years of Work History
If your resume identifies in any way that you have 20, 25, 30, or more years of experience, you are going to scare off employers. The only exception is if you are applying for executive C-level roles that require over 20 years of leadership experience.
The first place an employer will look is in your Branding Statement or Career Summary. You can downplay your age by saying "over 15 years of experience" and leaving it at that. Is this misleading? Not necessarily. You want your resume to position you in the most effective way. If you are applying for a role that is looking for 5-7 years of relevant experience, listing that you have over 20 years of experience will imply that you are overqualified.
The second place an employer will look for your age is in your Experience section. If you include dates earlier than 2000, you are certainly going to scare an employer. The job market, skills, and technology have changed so much since the 1990s. It's very common for an employer to consider older experience to be outdated and irrelevant. Focus on the last 10-15 years to make the greatest impact and conserve space on your resume.
Owning A Business & CEO-Status
Self-employment or business ownership is frightening for employers to see on a candidate's resume. Most conservative companies will question your manageability, your commitment to a new company, and your intentions. Are you looking for a job to pay the bills until your business takes off? Are you going to be able to take direction from a supervisor or manager? Are you quitting an opportunity prematurely, and what does that say about your character?
If you are applying for a lower-level role after years of leading as a CEO, CFO, or COO, you will also raise suspicion. Showing such high authority in another company may imply that you are overqualified or difficult to direct as well. Over 10 years of experience as a C-level leader can also negatively imply your age.