For a while now, the likes of pictures and date of birth have become obsolete features of the modern CV, and mainly because of the increased regulation around active discrimination and the Equality Act 2010. Despite this, implicit bias in the recruitment process remains.
Completely eliminating the age factor on a CV is near impossible. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work back through your career history or qualifications to make an educated guess at how old you are. However, there are a number of ways you can make your age less prominent, and instead, focus on how current your skills and experience are.
Extensive work history
If you’ve been working for 20 or 30 years, chances are you’ve got quite the line-up of jobs to describe. Rather than get into the extensive list, narrow it down to the jobs that affect the one you’re applying for. Leave out your foray into waitressing whilst studying if it doesn’t have relevance to the job you’re hoping to get. What most companies are looking for is what you’ve been doing for the last ten years, and if you have any pertinent job experience before that.
DON’T remove employment dates though. Recruiters or hiring managers may assume (possibly unconscious bias again) that you’re hiding gaps in employment for example. You could either list former roles that go back more than 10 years without detailed explanation of your role or summarise your experience before that time in another paragraph under ‘Other Experience’.
Mentioning redundant technology
Technology changes and fluxes incredibly quickly, so mentioning old and probably redundant technology used in other roles will date you. Instead, describe the types of systems you have experience with (i.e. CRM, website development software) and use the opportunity to describe current technology you’ve worked with. The stereotype is that older people aren’t tech-savvy and less adaptable to change so if you can demonstrate your abilities to adopt the latest systems and software, (if pertinent to the job, of course), you’ll definitely be promoting yourself well.
DON’T use an old-style email address either. Listing your email as an AOL address or whatever email was provided by your internet provider instantly dates you. Set up a new account from the various free providers out there such as Gmail or Hotmail. The same goes for your landline telephone number!
Outdated education and qualifications
Listing your CSEs or O-levels will instantly imply you are in a certain age range. Even those with just 10 years’ work experience behind them are often removing secondary school qualifications unless critical to the role. Focus instead on any qualifications, training and continued professional development you have done throughout your career if applicable.
DON’T include the dates on degrees, for example. For higher level education, it doesn’t necessarily matter when you graduated and, in any case, your actual work experience will be of more interest to a recruiter or employer.
Not using social media
This goes back to the technology stereotype. It doesn’t matter if you enjoy or understand the hype of social media. Employers are actively using it to learn about applicants. If you can’t be found, or worse, if they think they’ve found you but found someone else, it’s very likely you’ll be passed over for someone more visible. LinkedIn is the major website for workers these days, so having a presence there is essential. Being visible and your potential employer being able to find you is very important.
DON’T get too caught up with being ‘active’. Setting up a LinkedIn profile is probably important, but unless being seen to post and engage regularly is critical to the role you are applying for, you don’t necessarily need to worry about it.
Make sure your age is not an obvious factor keeping you from getting the job. Update your CV and show that you are experienced, but also current and ready for the role.