If you leave dates and the
early part of your career off your resume, you’ve just brought
attention to your age. (You’re clearly trying to hide something by
doing this - either your age or a choppy job record - so you’ve
automatically made your age an issue.) If you say something
is designed to make your age look like an asset, like “I bring lots of
experience that a 38-year-old won’t have”, or worse, “I’m in great
shape – my doctor told me I have the body of a 45-year-old …”, you’ve
just made your age an issue. Don’t do any apologizing.
feel you must, mention some physically active hobbies and drop the
inactive ones from your resume. But mostly, you should
concentrate on what you’ve done and what you can do for a company
during your interview, just like any other candidate.
age discrimination doesn’t exist - it does. But it is becoming
significantly less of an issue as our population ages. I do
a handful of searches a year, and in the last two years a 57-year-old
and a 59-year-old beat out younger candidates and got the
one of my partner’s searches to find someone to run a 30-attorney law
firm, the client hired a 69-year-old woman who displayed some real
spunk. She stayed for 10 years.
As you move into the
more senior positions, being age 38 or 43 can be perceived as being too
young - the candidate is viewed as not having enough
Few companies will balk at a 50-year-old candidate for a senior
position today, and some consider that the ideal age. Some people feel
that people over 50 bring more stability, and are far less likely to
turn over than are younger candidates.
One job hunter told me that rather than fear his age, he decided to go out and find someone who wanted a 55-year-old. He
landed a position as the managing diector of a professional service
firm with literally the best reputation in his industry in the world
right in the midst of the stock market crash of October, 2008, just as
every other firm in that industry crashed and burned.
Some people simply won’t
hire you if you’re older; but think about this: if someone is going to
be so short-sighted that they won’t hire you because you’re 57, you
probably don’t want to work for them anyway.
You can help
yourself, however, by not looking or acting old. If you have a
trademark beard or moustache that has grayed before your hair has,
shave it off. If you’re grossly overweight and look 70,
are going to be far less likely to hire you than if you look trim and
energetic (remember, the fear is that the older you get, the less
energy you’ll have). Losing weight and exercising so you look
is something you have complete control over, unlike the vagaries of
searching for a job (I lost 35 pounds in a 3-month period when I
decided it was finally time to do so, and after I did so, people
mentioned that I looked significantly younger).
As long as you're still willing to put in a
55-hour week, you're not too old.
think that you can successfully hide your age from anyone regardless of
how hard you try to cover it up in your resume - it's publicly
available for free on the web. A few months ago, just before I
turned 50, the AARP sent me a mailing inviting me to join. I
wondered how they could possibly know that I was 49.9 years old. I'm
still not sure how they knew to that level of precision, but a friend
recently showed me a web site called www.whitepages.com
that gives out all kinds of what I previously thought was private
information if you dig around on it long enough. On it,
you'll find your age, places you've lived, and many of your
relatives' names (great fuel for identity thieves - check your listing
there before giving the answers to your secret questions on your