Older workers have an uphill battle when it comes to changing jobs. Although employers are not supposed to discriminate against older workers during the hiring process, some hiring managers do have a bias in favor of younger employees. If overcoming age bias is one of your biggest concerns about the hiring process, there are several things you should do when updating your resume.
When you write a resume, there's no rule that you have to list every position you've ever held unless you are applying for work with an organization that requires some kind of security clearance. Overcome age bias early in the hiring process by listing only your most recent jobs on your resume. If you have been in the same industry for 25 years, eliminate information about jobs you held more than 15 years ago.
Another way to overcome age bias is to include information that shows you are comfortable using technology. Many employers assume that older people are not good at using computers or mobile devices, but this is a harmful myth. If your resume has a separate section for skills, list any programming languages or industry-specific software packages you have used. Doing so helps you overcome age bias and shows hiring managers you have what it takes to succeed.
Some employers shy away from hiring experienced workers because it is more expensive to hire and retain them. The salary range for an employee with two or three years of experience is typically much lower than the salaries offered to workers with 25 or more years of experience. To overcome age bias in this regard, use your resume to convince the hiring manager that your experience is an asset. Younger workers might not have experience leading teams or managing employees, so focus heavily on these skills if they are required for a particular position.
Make sure your resume shows growth in your industry, not stagnation. Some people think having the same job for decades is a sign of loyalty, but many employers find it worrisome. Skilled employees are usually promoted or moved into positions with greater responsibility, so if all of the positions on your resume are similar, prospective employers might wonder if your work wasn't good enough to help you advance your career.
Finally, consider using a functional resume if you are concerned about age bias during the hiring process. Traditional resumes include the dates you held each position, but a functional resume leaves dates off in favor of focusing on skills and achievements. If you try to overcome age bias with a functional resume, make sure you highlight your achievements, not just your job duties. It is especially beneficial if you can show prospective employers you played an important role in saving your company money or improving an inefficient process.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act forbids employers from making hiring or firing decisions based on age bias, but this only applies to employers with 20 or more employees. If you are applying for a job with a small business, overcome age bias by writing a strong resume that positions you as a skilled professional in your industry.
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