How to Totally Avoid Age Discrimination in CV's

Sadly, age discrimination in the job market is everywhere and many CV's exhibit elements that reveal details about a persons age, that can lead to age discrimination. With some simple tweaks though, age discrimination can be totally avoided when applying for jobs, by enhancing your CV/Resume in line with the points below.

1. Date of Birth 
Never state your date of birth on your CV/Resume, whatever your age. It's not a requirement, and probably won't be a limiting factor anyway once you've had the chance to show-case your value to the company at a face to face interview. 

2. Email address / Contact Details
People who use email accounts that were popular way back, such as Hotmail or AOL, might be perceived as older, while more recent accounts such and Gmail create an air of current and tech savvy in employers' minds. Consider switching your CV/Resume email to a Gmail account. 

Don't give your age away in your email, such as, as the reader will probably assume that the number is your year of birth. Instead, use a simple email naming convention such as or, without any numbers. If your chosen name convention is already taken by another user, keep trying other formats until you find one that's available.

Also, state just your mobile/cell number, not your home phone number, and consider inserting a link to your LinkedIn profile to stay current. 

Important - if you state a LinkedIn profile address, ensure your LinkedIn profile is optimised and in-sync with your CV/Resume, as many employers will review your LinkedIn profile these days. If you don't have a LinkedIn profile, give serious consideration to getting one - it's free and can help open doors to job opportunities. 

3. Professional Profile
Most CV's/Resume's start with a summary of experience, which can lead to age assumptions. For example, an experienced person might state: "...over 25 years Software Development experience..." A better way of stating this, without triggering any age assumptions is: "...10+ Software Development experience..." or similar. 

4. Education, Awards, Training
Remove all dates. State achievements and where they were awarded, in order of highest qualification or most relevant first, but with no dates. Employers might seek to validate your awards, but dates are not usually a component of this process.

5. Experience
Demonstrate that you have relevant experience required for the role (employers often state X years' experience in job descriptions or imply the same), but try not to go back more than 10 years or so. You can always share earlier experienced during an interview.

Note: Some people say that you should state earlier experience if it's relevant to the job you're applying for, but few employers will take much notice of experience that long ago.

Very Important - use the right keywords because automated processes and people will scan for these keywords as an indicator of relevant experience. Use the same keywords / phrases that are stated in the 'required' part of the job ad/description, stating the most important words or phrases more than once, particularly in your most recent experience.

6. Skills
State only the relevant and current technical skills that are required by the job, delete irrelevant skills to bring the focus to what's relevant, and remove outdated computing skills such as WordPerfect and Lotus123 as these will trigger assumptions about your age. 

7. Children
Don't state your kids' age and consider not stating you have kids at all, as this might lead to age assumptions being made about you.  

8. Red Flag Terminology 
Avoid red flag terminology such as 'mature', 'seasoned', 'young looking', 'youthful', 'fit', 'healthy' and so on. And get a feel for the style of terminology being used in the job advert and on the employers' website and try to adapt your writing style to suit. 

When you make these simple enhancements to your CV/Resume, your chances of being selected for interview will be greatly enhanced, guaranteed. I wish you prompt success in your job search and please do feel free to share your experiences. 

Views: 4847

Comment by Sandra McCartt on June 10, 2013 at 1:40pm
Worst advice to a mature job seeker on the planet. The minute anyone leaves off dares of education and goes back 10 years you have just red flagged a resume as someone who is trying to fool somebody about their age.

If you do fool somebody with your resume, what happens when you walk though the door to meet with an employer who is expecting someone with only 10 years work experience and the person who presents appears to have been personal friends with Lewis and Clark. Do you like being tricked? I don't and most employers feel the same way. You won't get a chance to talk about your value. You will get at most a short, courtesy interview and an irritated employer because you misrepresented yourself and if fact lied by omission.

Unless a mature job seeker plans on extensive plastic surgery, finding a good forger to redo diplomas, and have someone perform a partial lobotomy on previous employers, trying to trick someone by sanitizing a resume is just stupid. We all are who and what we are.

When I get one of these works of art, my first question is, "is this a full resume of all career experience?". If the answer is no, I won't send out a partial resume. My clients have a right to know who is going to walk through the door not have to deal with a sleazy recruiter trick to get an interview.

If you can't place a mature candidate based on their actual work experience and expertise don't exacerbate their concern about their age by telling them to misrepresent themselves.

Nobody like to be tricked or feel like they have to trick somebody to get a job and 99 % of the time it won't work anyway. Nobody is that dumb at this stage of the game.
Comment by Amber on June 10, 2013 at 2:16pm

Well Sandra, as usual, you took my thoughts and posted them!

The 1st thing most people looking at a resume think about dates being left off is why?. Can kill chances right there. I still use my Hotmail account, even though I have one with Gmail. My younger brother, who works for a software company, still uses his AOL account. And if I ever see a highly qualified using one of those email services, am I really going to think "gee, better not call them!"?

Comment by Sandra McCartt on June 10, 2013 at 4:11pm

Here is one more little ditty that you haven't thought about.  When filling out an online application dates of education are asked for on most apps.  If you don't fill it out you get a nice little notice that you can't move forward with the app unless it is completed.

As to Linkedin.  Are you suggesting that a job seeker not have a profile picture.  Another red flag that says "I am either uglier than a mud fence or i am hiding who i am for some reason.

Many job seekers use hotmail email for job search only so nobody notices or cares who your provider is or thinks only old people use hotmail. 

If the last position on a resume is VP or SVP or Sr. Manager or anything above the level of staff and you only go back 10 years do you think that anybody is dumb enough to think that lightening struck a tree and you stepped out into a Sr. manager or executive role.  Unless of course you are suggesting that candidates leave off their titles also.

I have had mature candidates tell me that they followed this clap trap advice and managed to get themselves excluded from consideration because after they sent in a resume that reflected 10 years they got a note back that the employer was looking for someone with more experience for this role.  Now what.  Does the candidate send back a note and full resume and say "Well i really have the experience you are looking for but i was trying to hide my age so here is my real resume.".  Too late, damage done.

As to leaving off dates of education and awards.  A lot of us verify degrees before we send out a resume.  That is not normally done without providing the date of graduation so there goes that trick.

If someone has to travel to interview imagine the reaction of an employer who thinks they are bringing in someone at the 10 year level because they bought in to a bogus resume.  They send a request for name on photo ID and date of birth (you can't board a plane without that into).  What comes back from the candidate is a birth date of 1948 instead 1988.  Now what.  The employer now realizes that they are spending some untold amount of money flying in a candidate who in their 60's instead of their 30's and has more than 30 years experience in the work force instead of 10.  You have now put an employer in the position of spending money to fly in a candidate that they are not going to hire because they are way overqualifed for the level of position. If they don't then they have opened themselves up to an age discrimination claim if they cancel the interview.  HR has to go to the hiring manager and tell him that the candidate misrepresented his resume.

Bottom line.  A candidate with 25 or 30 years experience is not a fit for an entry level position or a staff level position even if he or she is desperate enough to take it.  There is a much better opportunity for a Sr. level candidate to take a step back to a lesser position if it is explained that their kids are grown and out of college, they have done their time in managment or climbing the mountain and are at the stage where they want a good job without all the travel or management responsibilities they have had in the past.  Particularly appreciated in accounting and many IT spots where experience is relevant or docs who are tired of being on call and blah, blah.


Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on June 11, 2013 at 12:08am

You two ladies handled the obvious nonsense needing to be addressed in this content. My question (plea, request, beg) is can RBC PLEASE isolate non-relevant information so that those of us interested in quality recruiting related topics don't have to constantly encounter such _____ stuff here?

I get it that some people may actually enjoy rudimentary resume/cv pointers, but I would imagine they can find that on a resume/cv site. RBC is not the destination I envision serving that niche. 

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on June 11, 2013 at 12:53pm

Heartily endorse every comment. Thank you Miss Sandra, Amber, and Kelly for representing :)

Comment by Chadd Balbi on January 2, 2014 at 2:34pm

Tough crowd, but I have to agree with all comments made


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