Is ageism undermining your job search? Here's how to 'age-proof' your CV.
According to a recent YouGov poll of more than 1,100 employees over the age of 50 commissioned by the Centre for Ageing Better, 14 per cent of those surveyed believe they have been turned down for a job due to their age, and nearly one in five (18 per cent) have chosen not to disclose their age in job applications, or at least considered doing so. In addition, nearly half (46 per cent) think their age would put them at a disadvantage when competing with younger employees for work.
While provisions in the Equality Act 2010 make it illegal to discriminate against a candidate based on their age, the reality is that ageism in the workplace is rife in the UK. Although I can't offer a magic solution to change the population's negative attitudes towards ageing, I can offer some tips to help you 'age proof' your CV and remain competitive in today's job market.
Streamline your CV to a proper page length
While there are some exceptions, a two-page CV is the ideal length for most professionals – even those with a decade or more of experience. After all, when you have mere seconds for your CV to impress employers, there is no point in writing a lengthy document with loads of detail. To achieve this two-page CV length, reduce jobs older than 15 years or so to the bare essentials: your job title, the organisation's name and its location. You don't need to include your dates of employment. If a role falls outside of the 15-year window and is not compelling, you can remove it completely, even if it is relevant.
Reframe your CV with your current goals in mind
Think of your CV as a marketing document, curated to highlight the most relevant and recent parts of your employment history to show employers you're qualified to do the job they're hiring for. There is no need to document your entire work history within your CV. Instead, re-evaluate your CV with your current job goals in mind. Identify which bits of your employment history, training and professional development activities are most relevant and should take centre stage, and which are no longer important and should be reduced or eliminated from the document altogether. If you're unsure what to cut or showcase in your CV, don't be afraid to ask for help.
Safeguard your CV against the 'hiring bots'
Around 98 per cent of large organisations use software known as an applicant tracking system (ATS) to scan and analyse CVs and eliminate the least-qualified candidates for a role. While these 'hiring bots' make HR managers' lives easier, they often relegate qualified candidates whose applications aren't 'ATS-friendly' to the bin. In fact, up to 75 per cent of CVs are rejected by an ATS before the recruiter even sees them. Click on the following link to make sure your CV is formatted to beat the hiring bots.
Become better acquainted with LinkedIn
If you've resisted the urge to use LinkedIn in the past, now is the time to reconsider your position. A study by Jobvite found that over 90 per cent of recruiters use LinkedIn as part of their recruitment process. If you don't have a robust profile on LinkedIn, you're missing out on loads of job listings and valuable networking opportunities. Click on the following link to learn how to write the perfect LinkedIn profile for your job search.
Have your CV reviewed by a professional
From using an antiquated CV format to failing to incorporate the right keywords, there are many ways your CV could unintentionally be undermining your job-search efforts. If you're unsure of what belongs on your CV, or you don't have the time to write it yourself, consider outsourcing the task to a trained professional. Specialists such as TopCV offer everything from free evaluations to professional CV-writing services.
TopInterview: How to combat ageism during a job interview