Jobs Resources

Résumé Do’s and Don’ts – Part 2 – Age Proofing Tips

Things To Consider When Making A Job Application
Johanna Milbank
Written by Johanna Milbank

Last edition we covered the basic dos and don’ts of a resume. This time we are going to look at what we can do with our resume to remove indications of age and prevent some of the age bias often experienced by mature aged job seekers.

Date of Birth – Regardless of your age, do not put your date of birth on your resume! An employer does not need to know your age to know if you have the skills for a job. In most cases it is illegal to ask someone their age. Exceptions are for roles where compliance and regulations are in force i.e. to sell alcohol you must be over 18 years of age.

There are also other indicators of someone’s age. Many people put their year of birth in their email address. I would suggest using another email. Year finished high school is another one. For older workers when and where you completed school is just not relevant any more. Leave it out!

Photos – Unless you are a model and your job is linked to your face, do not include a photo of yourself. You want to be judged on your skills, knowledge and experience, not what you look like. You appearance does not say anything about your abilities. Though that does not give you permission to then attend a job interview in jeans and a  t-shirt! Always dress for the occasion, be smart, neat and wear the appropriate clothes for the job you are going for. If in doubt about what to wear better to dress up than to dress down.

Addressing gaps in your work history – Many people take a break from the workforce. This could be by choice or through necessity like child rearing, illness or caring for someone else. By only using the year (and not the exact date or month) in your work, volunteering or qualification history, breaks can often be hidden for those less than a year. For longer periods you might put down in your work history a reason and duration for the break ie. where you had a caring role or perhaps you travelled overseas for 12 months. These can often be applicable to a role you are applying for – Travel for the tourism industry or listing a caring role for the disability or aged care sector. Use it to your advantage. After all, these require skills in time management, organisation and often lead to learning new skills. Don’t undervalue your time out of the ‘paid’ workforce. It is all experience and many employers recognise the value of the skills learnt at these times in your life and as an example of ‘loyalty’ and “ethical values”.

If you have had a variety of different types of roles over different industries you might only include the roles and qualification relevant to the job you are applying for. To cover this you might make a statement like “Previous roles in hospitality over 8 years 2003 – 2011”. This tactic also helps to keep the resume to a manageable length (remember no more than three pages long in total).

This also includes excluding schooling and qualifications that are no longer relevant or out of date. If you attended high school over 35 years ago or that first job at a super market check out, it will really have no bearing on a job you would apply for today. Leave it out. You also now have 35 other years of experience that is far more relevant.

Next article we will introduce you to Resume Parsing.