10 Things to Avoid Resume Age Discrimination

Resume Age Discrimination - 10 Things to Avoid

Although employers are not legally supposed to discriminate based on a person’s age, it happens all the time. Most people believe age discrimination in the workplace starts at age 50. The truth is it begins much sooner and your resume might be giving away your age.

Hiring manger’s and companies regularly discriminate not only based on age, but also on additional criteria that might include sexual orientation, a person’s attractiveness or their marital status. With all of these types of bias for hiring an employee how can you avoid making mistakes on your resume that give clues to your age?

1. Don’t have a really long resume.

A resume that seems to go on forever can be a real red flag to someone looking to fill a job position. It could indicate a person that job hops frequently or it might portray a person that has been in the workplace for some time. Keep your resume down to a few pages if you can.

2. An outdated email address can show your age.

If you are still using an email from AOL (American Online), it might show your age. Don’t use an email address associated with something outdated.

3. Do you still use a landline phone?

You should be using only one phone number on your resume. It should be your cell phone with a greeting of your voice and not the default robotic one. Having multiple phone numbers shows you still use a landline phone and it might give a clue to your age.

If you do not want a lot of solicitation calls or unwanted calls to your cell phone, use something like Google Voice. You can get a free local phone number that can be set up to forward to your cell phone. I have used this previously with success. If you submit your resume online to job sites or places like LinkedIn, you will get a lot of solicitation and junk phone calls.

4. Don’t list every job position you have had.

More experience typically signals an older worker. There is a fine line of what to show on your resume and what not to show. Keep it to a couple of pages and only list the most recent relevant job experience.

5. Don’t use an objective on your resume. A professional summary is better. 

Highlight your skills on a resume and how they have been used to achieve results. Using an objective on your resume focuses on the job you are applying for. An objective does not offer as much value on a resume as it did in the past. Don’t eliminate your chances for a job by using an objective.

6. Use a LinkedIn profile on your resume.

Today’s hiring managers use social media to find qualified job candidates. LinkedIn is a site that has job openings and networking opportunities. It is a common career and job site many recruiters use today. If you do not have an account set up on LinkedIn, get one established at  https://www.linkedin.com/.

7. Make sure your resume looks good on multiple devices.

A hiring manager may not only be looking at your resume on a traditional computer. With tablets and smartphones being common tools in the workplace these days, make sure your resume looks good on these devices.

8. Don’t date yourself with language.

If you immediately put on your resume something like “Over 30 years experience,” this shows you have been working for some time. Using this type of language on your resume quickly lets someone get a good idea of how old you might be.

9. You might want to consider not using education graduation dates.

Omitting education dates on a resume can be debatable. However, there is no debate that this can quickly give someone an idea of the job candidates age. You might want to experiment with this and leave off graduation dates with some resume submissions and leave it on others.

10. Make sure to update schools.

Universities and schools change names. If you received an education from an institution that changed names at some point, make sure to use the updated name. Using an old one could date you or the hiring manager might not even be familiar with it.

Avoiding age discrimination on your resume is not the only obstacle.

Even with laws in place for discriminating in the hiring process, such as the (EEOC) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employment discrimination based on age is still very prevalent. The tactics companies and hiring managers use to filter out older job candidates is not just restricted to physically looking at someone’s resume. Technology is also helping in the process to sort older applicants.

ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems)

ATS or otherwise known as an Applicant Tracking System is software that helps recruiters and managers organize and streamline the hiring process. The software uses algorithms to filter potential job candidates to fill a position. Although ATS systems sell themselves as being compliant with discrimination, people design the filters and algorithms. Just because employment discrimination is illegal does not mean some employers do not do it.

Workplace Age Discrimination - It happens more often than most people might think.

There have been lawsuits with employers using only certain date ranges for filtering. Hiring managers have also been known to filter for certain academic degrees that might be more common for older workers. Just because ATS systems are supposed to be compliant with discrimination doesn’t mean someone has not found a way to do it or is doing it. Here is a previous article on ATS that goes into detail more on why they are bad for job seekers Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are Bad for Job Searching.

Age discrimination might exist on a career page through an employer’s website.

When it comes to disqualifying a person for a job position based on age technology really does have an advantage. Like a lot of employment safeguards that are factitiously in place, there are ways to eliminate potential new hires without knowing their true age. Career sites directly through companies on their website are one place this does occur.

Have you ever tried filling in an online application directly through a company’s website and certain fields are a requirement to continue in the application process? Online applications that require dates of employment or education do just this. You have to put in a date or their software does not let you advance in the application process. Don’t you think either the system or a hiring manager looks at this information?

Requiring dates on online applications is a sure way for employers to estimate an applicants age.


Discriminating against a potential job candidate based on their age is not a legal practice according to many of the legal protections that are supposedly in place. Yet, it happens all the time. Having a resume that is designed to not give away a job candidates age is the first step in getting through the mature employment filter.

Although having a resume that does not give away your age is a good first step, it is not the only obstacle in the way of not getting the job due to being too old in the eyes of a hiring manager. Technology and the software used to filter out older workers is also playing its part in discrimination.

Unfortunately, in the working environment we live in today, employers are growingly seeing their workers as being expendable. Also, increasing profits at the cost of good employees seems to be the norm. Even though some employers do see older workers as being an asset, many do still not realize the experience and leadership skills older employees can bring. They do not see that maturity provides a strong and positive work ethic. Hiring managers only many times see a larger dollar sign that comes with experience. Older workers might cost more in some instances, but in many circumstances, they are also worth more.


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