Age discrimination has been illegal for some time, but the reality is that resume styles have changed dramatically in the past decade. And a resume written in a style from 2005 is far more likely to get placed at the bottom of the pile… or thrown out altogether.
I invited professional resume writer Virginia Franco to share her best tips on how to avoid age discrimination on your resume and in your job hunt. I’ll let her take it from here…
When it comes to today’s competitive job search, a resume with an outdated format or with an antiquated writing style is a one-way ticket to the “Don’t Interview” pile.
So what should you do to avoid age discrimination on your resume? Use these six formatting tips to leave your reader without a clue whether you are 28 or 68.
Just like you, hiring managers and recruiters are on the go. Make sure your contact information includes just one number – preferably a mobile number.
Don’t forget to replace your cell’s robo-response with a professional greeting in case you can’t pick up and the call goes to voicemail.
These changes should only take a few minutes and will do a lot to help you avoid age discrimination when applying for jobs.
Hotmail or AOL emails may raise a red flag that you are stuck in the 20th century technologically-speaking. You can’t give off red flags like this if you want to protect yourself from age discrimination on your resume.
Correct this impression by opening a newer web-based email account like Gmail and updating your resume with it. This will help you blend in with the crowd and keep the hiring manager’s mind on your actual experience and skills- right where you want it.
In addition to your name, phone number and email, be sure to include a link to your LinkedIn profile. Doing this is an easy way to show the reader you are up to speed on today’s professional networking.
Before taking this step, make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date, that you have uploaded a headshot, and that the headline, summary and experience sections are populated.
Gone are the days of an adjective-rich summary section peppered with several industry-related keywords.
Make sure the reader knows you are ideally suited for particular roles by replacing generic phrasing with unique details about you. Make sure to address the requirements from the job posting that fit your skills and interest you.
If you want step by step instructions on how to tailor your summary section and the rest of your resume, read this article.
Devote the majority of the space on your resume with achievements from the 21st century. While going back to around 1998 or so is acceptable if the high-level accomplishments are noteworthy, readers are more interested in what you’ve accomplished in the last 10 to 15 years.
You can show career progression, indicate to the reader you’ve held certain job titles or worked with companies whose names are sure to impress, by adding an “Additional Experience” section.
Remember to remove all dates from this section and keep it brief – there is no need to go into detail about these roles as they are likely much less relevant to your current career aspirations.
Today’s resumes are likely to be read online on big screens and mobile devices. In fact your resume may not get printed out until the fourth or fifth read – if ever.
Resumes written for print just don’t translate well on the screen– primarily because of too much dense text and a lack white space – critical to successful skimming and online reading.
Ensure your resume translates well on a screen of any size by keeping your paragraphs to two or three lines. Put at least half an inch of white space between each and every phrase or bullet on the page.
Resume formatting and writing style has evolved over time – in part because readers are increasingly on the go and rely more heavily on technology.
Adopting the above six tips will offer your resume its best shot at appearing fresh and timeless.
If you want more tips and hints for perfecting your resume, here are 11 more common resume mistakes that can cost you the interview.
The following expert contributed to this post:
Virginia Franco is a multi-certified executive resume and LinkedIn writer and founder of Virginia Franco Resumes. She offers customized executive resume and LinkedIn profile writing services for the 21st century job seeker.
Biron Clark is a former Executive Recruiter who has worked with hundreds of job seekers, reviewed thousands of resumes and LinkedIn profiles, and recruited for top venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies. He has been advising job seekers since 2012 to think differently in their job search and land high-paying, competitive positions.
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