Age, Experience, and the Mature Job Seeker

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Last week, I wrote on the importance of a multigenerational workplace, and how age and experience are a good team. However, there can be some truth still in the fact that not all companies acknowledge this, and so a more mature job seeker may find themselves struggling to land a job. It really all depends on the type of industry, but in general, there is a mindset out there that younger means more cutting-edge and plugged in to recent tech ideas. So, here are some resume’ tips for those who have a few more years of experience under their belt. 


A key point is to be sure your resume is age-neutral. In other words, limit the amount of information so as not to give away your amount of years in the work force. “Limiting what you include on your resume, from a chronological perspective, can help job seekers avoid the stigma of being considered "too old" by a prospective employer,” says Alison Doyle at She suggests limiting the amount of work history to the past 15 years on your resume’.


Another idea is to format your resume so that the focus is on skills, not dates. List the prior jobs and skills, but without necessarily pinning a date on them. Focus on the skills and achievements themselves, and not when they were accomplished. Of course, if you had a skills/achievement many, many years ago, unless you were actively still using those skills, having them on your resume’ is of little use. If you have been recently using them, then recent history will reflect that.


Also, claiming to have a wealth of experience may not be the path to take either. Saying you have 30-years of experience in an area will tag you with a more mature age right off the top. A good rule of thumb is to highlight the skills, but, instead of using dates and lengths of time, simply refer to yourself as having “extensive” or “expert” knowledge in an area, or other such descriptive phrases.


It is always an important tip to know as much as you can about the qualifications and skill set requirements of the position being applied for. Using that information to tweak your resume’ to focus it more on what they need will also be a benefit. This can also assist you in determining what information you may not necessarily need to include, like older skills.


Also, be sure you are up-to-speed on more modern skills, and highlight those in particular. As I have mentioned in past articles, use a little of your unemployment time to brush-up on or get refresher/updated training on skills. You’d be surprised how much you might learn in a relatively short amount of time (like maybe 20 hours or so), and be able to list some of that new knowledge on your resume’.  Make sure you have up-to-date social medial access (just having a Facebook page may not be enough in this Twitter, Nexxt, Klout, Google+ and LinkedIn world). Stretch your wings if you haven’t already, and get involved in some of the more modern social media hang-outs, and be as active as you can. Socialize with others in your field; you can learn a lot from them.


If you can display that you have top-notch, up-to-date skills, you can provide enough competition to the younger crowd to potentially land the position. If you just sit back and rely on your past lengthy experience in the field, you may not be able to land the position.


Job searching is tough in today’s market, so you need to leverage all advantages you can. Knowing what a company needs, and writing a custom resume’ with its focus aimed at that position, highlighting the skills you have that specifically relate, without “time stamping” your resume’ should go a long way in getting your foot in the door, at which time you can further elaborate on your extensive experience.


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  • James Harris
    James Harris
    Very knowledgeable article
  • Richard R
    Richard R
    As a 60 year old recently laid-off software engineer, I don't want to waste my time with employers who like my skills, but eliminate at an interview because of the grey.
  • Margaret A
    Margaret A
    I wish the author was a little closer in age to the persons of which he speaks.  I have been interviewed enthusiastically over the phone, but when the 20-something interviewer sees me, they say "Oh."  One pink-haired headhunter even said to me, "I thought you'd be younger."  I should have walked out then instead of wasting 30 minutes when I knew I would never hear from them.  Some of them call ME, and then won't call me back.  And yes, my skills are current.  Very, like months old.  If there was only a "wayback machine."  But that dates me too.  Thanks for letting me vent.
  • Syed R
    Syed R
    Very pertinent and practical suggestions and relevant to today's environment.  
  • Les G
    Les G
    Are you kidding me? All that a perspective employer has to do is google your name. Anyone who owns a drivers license has their AGE PUBLISHED. The age of "age neutral" job candidates no longer exists... Unfortunately age discrimination does.
  • Phuong N
    Phuong N
    this may be benefit to the older job seekers who are so honestly.What is government role in the job market? The government should figure out what position should be best fit for the job seeker who are over 50 or implement more feature how fit to those people with specific policy in labor market.
  • James H
    James H
    I agree with just about all of it. Thank you for the pointers you had in the articles also.
  • Michael C
    Michael C
    The problem with the application is when they ask for the date when you completed you education.
  • Anna O
    Anna O
    Great article.   Let's keep in mind many of us that once were in IT sector finally had to move onward to other types of employment after a length of time out of work.   With years of labor jobs or part time what ever jobs to survive on other skills from IT have become weak or not up to date as one should be to compete with younger straight out of college.   Yes, definitely would love to have full time IT employment but, as we all know extremely tough to re-enter.    Can't afford to enter school again to be in debt in my later years.    Over 50 and years are going by.    Open to any full time employment with benefits.    Thank You!
  • Gail D
    Gail D
    Good information!
  •  VJ M
    VJ M
    All well and good to "doctor" your resume to avoid dates... but how do you get around online applications, some of which will not let you bypass providing a date (for your degree, or time span of your last X jobs, etc.)? I've thought of putting in dates before I was born, but then some companies might think I was being a smart-a**. Any ideas?
  • David S
    David S
    There is a plethora of age discrimination out there. I am not sure why one would not find experience an extreme advantage.
  •  Jennifer M
    Jennifer M
    I am having the exact problem of age affecting my need to get a job.  I was glad to read this with the helpful hints.  However, things look a little discouraging at this point.
  • JERI S
    JERI S
    I believe that if your resume only reflects 15 years but you have titles such as Director or above it is highly probable you are an older employee. The only way I have been successful in past positions is because of my computer experience but that detail is omitted from a resume format. There are dozens of ways job hunters are being discriminated against - this is only one. As an over 50 female in search of employment none of this is surprising.
  • Ed M
    Ed M
    Stupid waste of time, just repeat of 5-10 years ago.
  • Thomas E. B
    Thomas E. B
    Great Article.I have two resumes, a one-page "professional Profile" with which I lead when answering.  I am a Chief Architect for my own and other companies and specialize in SharePoint, IT Auditing, Risk and Change Management, Compliance and Governance.  As a result, I get lots of 3-18 month contracts, but few full-time positions.  But, averaging $65.00 / hr, I'm not concerned.I have multiple social media accounts and several BLOGS where I post current  relevant information.
  • Gregory F
    Gregory F
    Nicely done. Points taken.From a guy with expert knowledge in my field.
  • Paul K
    Paul K
    Problem is, a lot of companies have their own resume builder on their jobsites (ie., Taleo) and dates are required.  I know I've missed out on some perfect fit jobs because I'm over 50, too!
  •  Missy B
    Missy B
    I advocate for older adults to fight for their right to work in order to support themselves.  Lets organize and tell the government to enforce age discrimination laws already on the books.
  •  Adrienne L
    Adrienne L
    very helpful advice. I am 60 and employed but also looking, afraid too many years' experience would work against me.
  • Robert C
    Robert C
    It may seem easy to limit any indication of 'years of experience', I have the situation where I found myself working as the evening custodian for our community center for over twenty years. Prior to that I worked in factories, mostly assembly and production assistance, for almost fourteen years.  I have taken early retirement from the village, and want to go back to work in an industrial setting, similar to that, that I had worked in before.  I would like to show my experience, but that would also reveal a vast amount of time.  How can I 'discretely' do that and not give major clues to my age?
  • John G
    John G
    All that info. is great, except, you still have to take the interview in person.  There is NO getting away from your age.  It has been a REAL issue for me.
  • Richard C
    Richard C
    Nice article. However, what I've noticed is that most companies job application sites require that you include your work history with dates. If you don't fill in the dates, the site won't accept your application.
  • Shahid K
    Shahid K
    I would 100% agree with Jeff, because I am putting 25 years experience on my résumé and I am not getting any response from employers. Another thing add in Jeff not that avoid put your graduation date, e.g. I graduated in1982, that definitely said that I have lots of years of experience so that may not go on your favor.
  • Lora M G
    Lora M G
    Good comments; it is much appreciated.Thank you.
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