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Although employers cannot discriminate based on a person’s age, many employees worry that their age may have a negative effect. If you are concerned that you are being screened out because of your age, a good solution is to create an ageless CV.
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Optimising Your CV
Job searching has changed over the years. The days of taking your CV into a company are gone. Nowadays it is almost entirely online.
Computer software programmes called Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) search through candidates to find specific keywords, phrases and dates. The software provides a list of candidates based on how closely they match the search. It is rare for a human to sort through all the applications.
Therefore, you CV should also not only be ageless, it should also be optimised to score well in an ATS.
One simple and straightforward way to eliminate any idea of your age is to remove all dates. Of course, this omission is not likely to go unnoticed. You must be prepared to answer the question:
When did you start working for them?
When questions like these come up, try to bring the focus back to the job. Or you can use this template as a response:
I left it off intentionally. My recent experience is so strong that I didn't want to clutter the CV with unnecessary information that would distract from my potential to hit the ground running.
When writing your summary, don’t mention how many years’ experience you may have. Instead keep it general and state you are “highly experienced and skilled”. Try to highlight your talent and not the number years of experience.
As a job candidate, you should focus on your achievements while at a place of work, not how long you worked there for. Mention the problems you solved, improvements you made, any promotions you received etc.
Unless you have graduated in the last 3 years, don’t include graduation dates. Anything you learnt years ago is probably outdated.
Your CV should be clearly laid out.
Obviously, your name and contact details need to be at the top of the document. After this should come a list of skills. Include keywords and phrases that are found in the job’s description. The ATS will score you higher the more relevant your CV is to the job’s description. By including these keywords at the top of your CV you should appear higher in the ATS search results.
After this, you should write about your work experience. Focus on the last 15-20 years of your employment history. Consolidate anything beyond 15-20 years into a heading such as Additional Related Experience and don’t include dates.
Finally, include your education. If you have completed courses or learning development recently, include these achievements in your CV. Prove that you are always willing to learn.
Recruiters often do not read cover letters. However, it would be a good idea to include a short summary near the top of your CV. Give the employers an idea of your biggest accomplishments.
Resumes are all about first impressions.
A good-looking resume will grab the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager. Although there may be no dates on your CV, the general layout could be enough for them to estimate your age. There are lots of CV design services that will make your CV appear pretty. But, these are not the best tools to use.
You need a CV that looks good but also functions well. An ATS will not be able to read a complicated CV with lots of design. As a general rule you need to avoid using lines, tables, headers, footers, coloured text etc.
One of the main concerns regarding an employee’s age is their ability to keep up with technology. In your CV you need to come across as forward-thinking and up to date with new technologies. Getting yourself on social media could be a good way to prove you have the drive for self-improvement.
Prove to employers that your age doesn’t affect your ability to stay current. Maintain an active online presence and stay up to date with new technologies.
What does your email address reveal about your age?
You are probably aware of the importance of using a professional email address. It’s one of the first things that a recruiter sees. You may have been told on multiple occasions that having an appropriate email address is vital.
A new email address with a branded domain is the best option. However, it is not entirely necessary. A simple Gmail or Outlook account can be used but don’t include any numbers! Try to use your name and do not include any dates.
Create an Ageless CV
Remember, employers generally aren’t concerned about your age, but rather it’s potential implications. Dispel their concerns. Refocus the conversation on why you are the perfect candidate for them.