How to Fight Ageism on Your Résumé

How to Advance Your Career

Because of their long experience and deep expertise, older workers can be major assets to employers. Unfortunately, those workers don't always get a fair shake in the modern job market. When they're looking for work, those workers must therefore take extra steps to fight ageism in the workplace -- starting with their résumé, author Amy Elisa Jackson asserts in a recent article on the blog of job-search website Glassdoor.

To find out how to "age-proof" one's curriculum vitae, Jackson consulted experts like Amanda Augustine, a career-advice expert for TopResume. According to Augustine, older workers should write their résumés in ways that de-emphasize their age.

"Older workers are often confronted with many stereotypes in the workplace, from being unable to keep up with technology to being too rigid in their ways," Augustine tells Jackson. "While not all stereotypes can be completely overcome within the confines of a résumé, there are ways to draw the focus away from a candidate's age and place it where it belongs: on the candidate's qualifications."

To shift the focus to their qualifications, older workers should emphasize only their most recent roles, according to Jackson. "The further along you are in your career, the less relevant your earlier work experience becomes," she explains. "Employers care most about your recent work that matters for the roles they're filling, not your experience from 15 or more years ago. As a result, give more detail about the positions you've held in the past 10-15 years that are related to your current job search, and say less about your earliest jobs."

In particular, show employers that you've kept up with current tools and trends by emphasizing contemporary skills and competencies. "The fact that you know how to use Microsoft Office is no longer noteworthy," notes Jackson, who says you should seek additional training if you need it, so you can honestly list it on your résumé. "If you realize there's a skill or tool outside your wheelhouse that's routinely appearing in the job descriptions you're targeting, check out sites such as edX, Coursera and SkillShare to find free or low-cost online courses."

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