Two Views on Confronting Ageism with Your Resume


In “Botox for your Resume and other Job Search Tips to Combat Ageism,” Matthew Levy offers a number of ideas to assist mature job-seekers. For resumes, Levy suggests removing graduation dates from your education because “the year you graduated is no longer relevant and allows the resume reviewer to calculate your age by adding 18-22 years to the date.” About the experience section, Levy goes on to say:
The same concept applies to the first position(s) you held in your career. Why list that early job on your resume? After 20+ years of experience I doubt that job is relevant any longer. Also, junior jobs, early in your career devalue the brand that you have likely created over the years.
But Harry Urshel takes the opposite view in “Should My Resume Disguise My Age?”, noting that it’s “a bad idea not to acknowledge your entire career on resumes you present to prospective employers.” Reasons? The employer will discover your age (at least approximately) at the interview and may feel deceived If you’ve hidden part of your job history. If an employer is inclined to discriminate, leaving content off your resume will only delay the inevitable (and would you want to work for an organization with such a bias?). Urshel’s view concurs with what we usually hear from recruiters. Many employers and recruiters want to see your entire history, which will be revealed anyway if a background check is conducted. A safer strategy is not to leave off old jobs but to list them in bare-bones fashion without dates. Levy offers more suggestions:
  • Consider using fonts such as Georgia and Verdana and steering away from overused fonts like Arial and Times New Roman.
  • An “objective” heading is out; a “summary” heading is in.
  • “References available upon request” is no longer used on resumes.
  • It’s not necessary for experienced job seekers to cram down to a one-page resume. Multiple pages are fine. After all, most resumes are read on a computer with a flick of the mouse. (While we agree that two pages are fine, the trend is toward shorter resumes, so try to avoid “multiple” pages.)