5 ways to combat age discrimination in hiring

5 ways to combat age discrimination in hiring

Let’s rewind about 20 years and visit a time when new graduates would find an entry-level role within a company and work their way up the ladder for the next 30-40 years before retiring… this almost never happens in the modern job market. Employees stayed with a company for such a long period of time, that age discrimination in hiring was not an issue.

Marcel Oosterwijk via Flickr

Nowadays, employees typically stay with a company for about two years before looking for something new. This becomes a problem for job seekers who are 50+. When they are applying for a new role, the new employer may overlook them due to the fact that they only have about 10 or 15 years before retirement. This is age discrimination. Hiring Managers cannot make a decision to hire or terminate you based on your age (that’s illegal!), but when it comes to job hunting, you don’t get an explanation when you don’t get called for an interview.

Therefore, you don’t know if you are being overlooked due to age discrimination. Your best bet is to remove information on your resume that gives the Hiring Manager a clear idea as to how old you are.

1.       Limit Years of Experience

A majority of job postings will clearly list the number of years of experience the candidate must have in order to qualify for the role. Therefore, it is common practice to include your full number of years of experience at the top of your resume. However, if you have more than 20 years of experience, it can be viewed as a negative for many Hiring Managers.

Instead – include the number of years as it is stated in the requirements section of the job posting. If they require 10 years of experience, mention that you have 10+ years  of experience. The section option is to avoid including any type of number in the value statement. You can mention that you have “extensive experience” or “several years of experience”.

2.       List Relevant Experience

No matter how many years of experience you have, you should only focus on the last 10 years in your professional experience section. Anything over the 10-year mark will automatically date you. Also, due to continued progression in modern-day technology, your role 10 years ago is not equivalent to same role today. Therefore, it is not relevant and does not need to be included on the resume.

3.       Remove Dates for Earlier Roles  

When outlining your career history, you can choose to include roles that were before the 10-year mark – however, we recommend removing the dates for these roles. The dates are not important as Hiring Managers and Recruiters are generally only interested in the last 10 years of work experience. Therefore, you can remove the dates to show other types of roles that you’ve fulfilled without letting the Hiring Manager know just how long you’ve been in the workforce.

4.       Remove Education Dates

Hiring Managers are most interested in when you completed your Degree or Diploma if you are a recent graduate or junior level candidate. Education plays an important role for these candidates because they do not have substantial work experience to demonstrate their knowledge of the field and industry – they only have their academic knowledge.

Candidates who have been in the workforce for over 10 years do not need to rely on their education to land them their next role. In these instances, the work experience is more important and relevant than the academic background. You should definitely list your academic background, but remove the dates. This does not allow the Hiring Manager the opportunity to “do the math” and figure out your age.

5.       Remove Outdated Programs

Once you have decided to pursue a new role, you should definitely update your resume from the last time you used it. One of the areas that many job seekers don’t pay much attention to is their technical proficiencies. They will add new programs they have learned, but they will not remove old programs that are no longer relevant in the industry. This is a bad sign for Hiring Managers.

If you’ve got “Proficient in Windows 98” on your resume, you are definitely aging yourself. Technology is constantly changing and you need to do your best to keep up with the times. If you haven’t updated your skills since 1998, it’s best to remove that technical proficiency list altogether.


Are you 50+ and experiencing difficulty in the job market? Submit your resume to us for a free review, and we’ll let you know if age discrimination might be the problem.  

Share this post

Comments (3)

  • Bert Gogle Reply

    what about all the electronic applications that now mandate dates for college graduation and now asking disability questions which of course they use against you.

    June 20, 2014 at 6:21 pm
    • Christopher D Lynn Reply

      If an employer uses disability information that isn’t BFOQ and you can prove it, run to the federal government right away. Otherwise, you’re just making an assumption with no facts.

      March 13, 2015 at 1:34 am
  • Mackenzie McAvoy Reply

    In following your advice, I’d be complicit in age discrimination by hiding my 41 years of working experience. I call BS. Sure, maybe I won’t get the job because my 57-year-old head is topped with white hair. Not my loss. In fact, far from my loss: I wouldn’t want to spend one minute working for a company that’s so incredibly short-sighted.

    Say, maybe we ought to start giving Social Security payments to 55 year olds since everyone that age—or even over 50—is obviously too stupid and ancient to be hired for any job.

    Happy trails, y’all. Here’s a photo of my gray hair.

    November 29, 2014 at 4:54 am

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.