If you upload your résumé online, you can assume it will be assessed by Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software1. In today’s post-Covid job migration, with millions of unhappy and furloughed employees looking for a more stable future, some companies receive up to 1,000 applicants for a single role. As a result, employers are increasingly turning to pre-screening AI-driven technologies to handle the overwhelming volume of candidates.
The United States legal system has addressed age discrimination in hiring. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act2 protects employees 40 years of age and above.
Unfortunately for applicants, the candidate screening algorithms used in ATS software may contain unintentional bias. Written by real people, they can reflect creators’ opinions, principles, prejudices, and personal values. Even if you pass the ATS screening process, hiring managers are savvy to more subtle giveaways, or “tells,” within your document.
Don’t fall into these “aging” traps and tells.
1. While still acceptable, the popular Times New Roman can make you appear dated. The best résumé fonts are the more modern sans serif fonts (without the little legs) Arial, Calibri, and Verdana. These fonts are easiest to read by ATS and humans alike.
2. Skipping two spaces after a period at the end of a sentence is “old school.”
3. Nothing will age your resume more than a “References upon request” statement at the bottom of the page.
4. Avoid outdated e-mail addresses. AOL is a prime example.
5. Be careful of using your initials followed by three-four numbers (jhs1060 or pc62.) Most people will assume that is your birth month/year, and most people would be correct.
6. Do not list your home address; the city and state will do.
7. A good rule of thumb is to stop after 20 years of employment history. There are more subtle ways of including additional employment without attaching dates, such as a Prior employment as “Title” at “Company” … statement or list.
8. Never put your high school degree on your résumé unless you just graduated.
9. If you graduated from college or university more than five years ago, don’t list your college graduation date. There have been lawsuits against employers for specifying date ranges for education on applications.
10. Be aware of the name of your degree. ATS software can be programmed to filter out antiquated degrees more common to older workers (Library Science, Administrative Assistant, Computer Science.)
11. Nobody cares if you can work a phone switchboard, use an intercom, file, or know COBOL60. Keep your skills current by taking and adding continuing education courses to your résumé.
12. Update your résumé language by researching and familiarizing yourself with your field’s current terminology. Terms such as World Wide Web, Rolodex, and videotaping will instantly age you. Forbes lists the phrase “think outside the box” as one of the most overused business cliches of all time. And there is no such app as “the Twitter.”
13. Make sure your word processing software is current. Your résumé will go nowhere if it can’t be translated and properly formatted at the receiving end. The safest, most universal way to upload a resume is in MS Word format. Google docs is currently popular but does not have Word’s formatting versatility.
Sandra Allison, CPRW
1. link to https://www. https://www.oracle.com/human-capital-management/recruiting/what-is-applicant-tracking-system/
2. link to https://www.eeoc.gov/age-discrimination