Avoiding Age Discrimination in the Job Hunt

So, you’re not a 20-something, right out of college? Not a spring chicken when it comes to the working world? Are you worried about age discrimination in your job hunt?

Recently, I contributed my 2 cents to a discussion on linkedin about the pros and cons of listing a date specifying when you received your degree on your resume. (Thus, presumably revealing your age.) The questioner had been told that he should remove degree dates for any degrees ten years or older.

Coincidentally, last week, I worked with two clients in their 30’s, both of whom asked about removing graduation dates. Maybe they are all getting advice from the same source!

I disagree with this advice.

My research on the subject indicates that if you leave off your graduation dates, it will only raise a red flag to a recruiter or hiring manager. The fact is, when you don’t list a date, the reader will automatically assumes you are probably quite senior. If you were trying to look younger by omitting a date, the result has the opposite impact.

Yes, there is age discrimination in the job hunt, no question. The fact is, you can’t hide your age forever! Being honest from the beginning could be the best approach, no matter how long ago you earned your degree!

There are a lot of ways to help you look younger in a job hunt. I’ve written about how managing your digital footprint can make you appear more youthful. I believe that what you DO, how you ACT and what you KNOW is more important than what dates appear on your resume. I’m not alone!

Facing discrimination in your job hunt? We can write your resume to make you look younger. Need help navigating social media and online networking? Keppie Careers is here for you!

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you!

photo by Bill Liao

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5 Responses to “Avoiding Age Discrimination in the Job Hunt”


  1. 1 Johnie Beth Matthews September 2, 2008 at 8:17 am

    How can you dress up a 71 year old woman who’s resume proves that age is a factor with the multiple “temporary” jobs. Everyone thinks I’m retired. I can’t live on my SS and pay my way. The cultural is forcing poverty on Seniors. I don’t think you realize the reality of what a senior is confronted with. I have taken dates off my resume, but the apps ask for dates like school dates, etc. When is this glass ceiling going to crack. Websites like this want money to do resumes. A senior does not have money unless they retired as a CEO of a large corporation. I’m a clear minded, highly skilled and educated. My test scores at the temp agencies prove it, yet, they want to post me in some sweatshop in the industrial area where I am not seen. How long are they going to keep the older worker behind the scenes? Yet, they welcome our volunteerism and meeter and greeter skills at Wal-marts at just over minimum wage. Give me some of your sage wisdom. It is always welcomed.

    Sarah Palin is the example of another pretty face in public. A trophy wife and VP. Give me a break! Don’t tell me that McCain gave much thought past her physic. What has she done that millions of women in this country hasn’t done? She doesn’t represent my vote at all.

  2. 2 Miriam Salpeter September 2, 2008 at 9:20 am

    I sympathize with you. Age discrimination is a factor in the workplace. However, there are ways to try to address age by focusing on your skills and experience to ensure that they are up-to-date. Have you visited the AARP’s website? I believe they list organizations that welcome seniors to apply for jobs. You may have some luck if you are able to approach those organizations.

    Everyone needs to earn a living, so professionals must charge for our services. However, I offer solid information to the job seeking community for free with every blog post. I hope my upcoming posts about
    accomplishment oriented resumes will help you.

    I know it may sound self-serving, but consider seeking professional help for your resume and your job hunt. You may be surprised by the results. Good luck!

  3. 3 Recruiting Animal September 2, 2008 at 10:47 am

    You’re right, if you leave off graduation dates and start your resume when you were already a manager we know that you’re not a spring chicken.

    My clients always ask me to ask for the graduation date and when I do I can feel the irritation on the other side of the phone.

    Lately, I’ve come across some blog entries that seem to be saying that it is illegal to ask for graduation date. If that’s true, I suspect that hiring managers and recruiters will simply avoid those people who don’t put dates into their resumes unless they are looking for someone over 40 though various governments might find a way to track a pattern of avoiding older workers.

    I myself am totally in favour of dying the hair (men and women). Lying to avoid prejudice seems morally legitimate too but now that everyone is checking resume fraud it’s easy to get caught.

  4. 4 Miriam Salpeter September 2, 2008 at 11:02 am

    @Recruiting Animal – Thanks for your comment and perspective. The fact that hiring managers want these dates is the most persuasive reason to include them!

    Statistics show that a lot of people are lying on their resumes, but I wouldn’t recommend it!

    I recently met a man with all gray hair who says he has done “everything” for his job search, but always comes in second. Dying his hair is next on his list of things to do. I wonder if he would have come in first already had he taken this step sooner?

  5. 5 Alexis September 2, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    Well I certainly agree that some seniors have more to offer than the business world percievs – you prove it with your well written post. However, there are some seniors that are just that; senior both in age and in mind in jobs where clearly a younger person would fit better. On the other hand some younger people are rude and disrespectful and also, in many cases today, uneducated too.

    I hope you get the job you want, i really do and i sympathize with your situation. In the meantime, why not enter this contest that I just read about online. The contest is offering the winner the chance to do the job of their dreams! Really easy and fun so give it a go!

    Heres the link

    http://tinyurl.com/65tyxh


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