Employers will say that they don’t discriminate, but age discrimination is still an issue in the job search even in 2019. Age UK revealed that the job search actually takes much longer for those ages over 50 than for younger candidates.
Even in current employment, almost half of over-50s feel their age would disadvantage them if they went for a promotion or applied for another job, and 18% of over 50s would consider hiding, or have hidden their age on a CV or application. These statistics come from a survey of over 1000 employees over 50, commissioned by the Centre for Ageing Better.
So as you can see, age discrimination is still very much a consideration, but it shouldn’t stand between you and your dream job. Here’s some useful tips for creating a CV that focuses on your skills and ability, not your age.
Focus on recent work experience, not past
You may have an impressive work history dating back to when you first began work, but in reality the longer ago it was, the less relevant it is to the job you’re applying for. What recruiters are most interested in is the latest positions you’ve held and how they demonstrate your ability to perform in this new role.
Focus on the key highlights of your job roles from the last 10-15 years, and if you feel that there is still something to be said about your experience in jobs before this period, then you can summarise these in a ‘Career Note’ section at the end of your work experience.
It’s also wise to remove any dates from work experience and qualifications, as these will hint towards age too. Simply saying you gained the qualifications is enough for the academic section, they don’t need to know when it was gained as that isn’t relevant. And with the work experience, you can say how many years you held the position without needing to specify dates, as the length of the role is more important than the exact timing.
Condense your CV into 2 sides of A4
It doesn’t matter what your age is, you don’t want your CV to go over 2 sides of A4 – if it does then you’ve included too much irrelevant information. Recruiters do not have much time to review each CV that passes their desk, therefore you need to make a very quick and good first impression for the CV to then get further consideration.
Rather than listing decades of work history, focus on what’s most recent and relevant to the job you’re applying for as we said in point 1. This will keep it short and sweet, and won’t give away too much about how long you’ve been in employment.
Focus your CV on your current career goals
Your CV is designed to sell you to the employer or recruiter who reads it. So you should first think about what roles you’re currently applying for. The review all your experience, skills and qualifications to pick out which ones are the most relevant to those types of roles you want.
By curating your information to only give the most relevant experience and knowledge, you’re focusing the employer’s attention on what matters and also stripping away additional history that could hint towards a longer career.
Show that you’re up to date with the latest technology
One of the stereotypes that contributes to age discrimination is that older workers don’t understand advancing technology and won’t be able to keep up with the younger workforce. as lacking ‘technical savvy’ by prospective employers.
In order to dispel these concerns, there are certain steps you can take. Firstly, don’t send the CV from an archaic email address such as AOL or Hotmail; sign up for a new Gmail or Outlook email that looks professional and shows you are up to speed with the current mail providers.
It’s also important to show in your CV that you’re up to date with the latest softwares and tech. You could either include this in your skills section and list what you’re proficient in, or have a separate ‘Technological proficiencies’ section in your CV where you show what you can work with.
If the jobs you’re applying for call for understanding of a tool you’re not currently familiar with, there are courses and training programmes that you can use to bridge this knowledge gap and add a new skill to your CV. This will increase your attractiveness as a candidate and show you’re not afraid to learn new technologies in the future.
Evidence your skills
No matter what your age, companies are moving towards needing more than just a list of skills and experience; they want real examples of how you’ve applied your abilities. Select a case study if possible from your work experience that can show how you applied your skills and what results this delivered.
Give as much context as possible to help the recruiter understand the situation and clearly explain which skills were applied in the example and why. If you can list examples of all your skills in practice, even better!