It’s an offence for employers or recruiters to discriminate on the basis of age, but it would be naive to think that it doesn’t happen.
Why does it happen, and what can you do about it in your CV?
The reason age discrimination happens, relative to a CV getting you an interview, is that the majority of “gatekeepers” in recruitment are young, usually 20-30 years old and anyone that’s over 50 years old seems pretty ancient.
Remember when you were 25? 50 seemed a world away, a world of cardigans, slippers and weak tea. Anyone over the age of 50 knows that this is ridiculous – that’s for the over 60’s! My point is that everyone has the capacity for age discrimination. At any age.
So, how do you prevent it being an issue when you’re trying to get interviewed?
There are some simple things that can be done, but there are also some neat tricks that you can employ.
Date of Birth
Firstly, don’t put your date of birth on your CV. They can’t ask about it, and if they do – challenge them. Just ask “Is it legal for you to ask that?”. Don’t be aggressive about it. Just ask it as a simple question.
Next, remove any dates in your education. You should still list your education, but don’t talk about ‘O’ levels and CSEs. Just state that you have “x” GCSEs. The same applies to training courses – no dates.
If you’re over 50 only specify dates of employment for the last 25 years. However, don’t just remove earlier employment from your CV (you never know what an employer might see as being relevant to an application), but rather add an additional section – Earlier Experience. In there you can add employers without dates. Just list the Job Title and the Employer.
A recruiter who’s determined to age profile you might ask when you worked for those employers. Again, you must challenge this (calmly) by asking why this is important, after all it was a long time ago and is it relevant to the application? The majority will stop pressing at this point.
Your email address can give away your age. This is particularly true if you have a common name, as email providers will make suggested email addresses such as dave.smith1963@btconnect,com, using your year of birth to differentiate you. This tells the recruiter how old you are.
The trick here is to use an email address solely for the purpose of job applications and then use this to give away your age. You can do this by setting up a Gmail or Hotmail account with a number in it that looks like a date. If your new email is firstname.lastname@example.org, the age discriminating employer or recruiter will automatically assume that you were born in 1978, and then (probably) not look any further.
In conclusion, people are ageist
Everyone is. Don’t be resentful of this, but rather take it on the chin and find a way around it. Nothing that I’ve written here is about lying or being dishonest, and you have a responsibility to yourself to give yourself the best chance to get interviews, and show them face to face that your age will not be an issue in doing a great job and being an asset to the employer’s business.
You can rewrite your CV to minimise the effect of age discrimination if you follow this advice, or you can get us to do it for you. We’ll review your CV free of charge, and then you can decide if you want us to do it for you.