If You’re Worried About Age Discrimination

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
POSTED: November 13, 2007 at 9:47 am

by Darlene Zambruski, CPRW, SME

In our youth-oriented culture many workers, some as young as 40, worry that their employment options diminish substantially with each passing year.

To avoid the potential for age discrimination even before you’re invited to interview, make certain that your resume showcases your unique talents and qualifications, rather than your years in the industry. This can be accomplished in three ways:

1. Use a functional format to market your unique skills and qualifications:

Unlike a reverse-chronological resume that stresses dates and employers, a functional format emphasizes what you know and what you can do, rather than how long you’ve been doing it. For example, a business analyst would have a “Career History” section with the following subheadings and bulleted information:

Financial & Business Analysis
· Performed complex analyses for system-wide negotiations, projections, and line-of-business reviews in addition to analysis of population distribution, claims/utilization, and cost.
· Identified, collected, and organized data from multiple sources for input into monthly, quarterly, annual, and ad hoc reports provided to contracting/finance departments and senior management.
· Designed and implemented database applications used in contract rate and risk management analysis as well as the identification and correction of data errors and discrepancies.

Management & Supervision
· Analyzed, interpreted, and resolved claims with authorization for payments up to $75,000.
· Directed activities of 40 claims analysts at a large project site.
· Interacted daily with enrollment, claims, utilization/quality management, and customer service to resolve provider issues.

Nowhere in the above are years specified or emphasized.

2. Exclude early positions that do not enhance your candidacy, especially if you’re in the IT field:

Modern resumes generally do not go further back into employment history than 15 years. For IT professionals, no professional history past 10 years should be included. Why? Industries change so rapidly, early skills are replaced with more current methodologies. And most employers want to know what you’ve been doing recently, not what you did when you first graduated from college.

3. Exclude dates of college graduation:

Although it’s considered unorthodox by some, excluding dates of graduation, especially if you left college in the early 70’s, will minimize the risk of age discrimination. For seasoned professionals especially, college graduation is not the hook it might be for an entry-level candidate. If what came before your educational data is stellar (i.e. career history, accomplishments, unique skills), then few hiring manages will notice or care about this omission.