Age: Should You Mask It?

Ever considered downplaying your age during a job search? 

Yes, it’s illegal to make discriminatory hiring decisions based on age, but if I had a nickel for every time a client asked what I thought about the topic, the notion must be alive and well, if only unseen.

Libraries, bookstores, and online articles are jam-packed with career development articles dedicated to euphemizing, masking, or spinning a person’s seniority to postpone the discovery of age.

But stop the presses a minute.

Instead of masking your age, have you considered taking an active role in capitalizing on your experience for everything it represents?

So what to do?

Perhaps it’s time to reverse your perspective. Take charge of your destiny.

Instead of gnashing your teeth over whether to include college graduation dates, spend the time networking with the right people to uncover the right position.

Instead of spinning your wheels looking for a job you may hate, spend time with a trusted friend or career coach to learn who you are and strategically find the right fit.

Think about it.

Will you be truly happy in a role that doesn’t recognize your value?

Will you sleep at night, once hired, knowing your experience isn’t being fully utilized? Or worse, overlooked or undervalued?

I believe this.

Age, even euphemized as seniority, is going to be found out eventually. So in many instances, I respectfully disagree with people who suggest leaving it off your résumé until you’ve had a chance to “meet and convince the hiring entity” to hire you.

If the hiring entity is concerned about age to begin with, you can only hide it for so long, and then it still might be a problem. And you risk wasting precious time by attending interviews and meetings that will never go anywhere in the first place.

Get in touch with and embrace the vast experience you bring to the table. Dig deeply to present yourself in a way that is so reasonable and compelling that your seniority will be coveted by the right people. 

You are the right puzzle piece somewhere. 

You just might not find it in a posted job opportunity. You may need to go looking for it.

The right opportunities will be attracted to your expertise and perspective.

This is one of the reasons I tell clients they need to be in the driver’s seat. Take the wheel. Too often people get stuck in long-clung-to “pick me, pick me!” mode that we feel freshly out of college — not facing the reality of the uniqueness they bring to the table professionally.

It involves a lot of work, but the payoff can be worth it.

Meanwhile, need help tracking the ins and outs of your job search? Try Jason Alba’s Well worth the investment.

Until next time!

Jared Redick

Visit: The Resume
Follow: @TheResumeStudio
Call: 415-397-6640

3 Responses

  1. What a spectacular article. I totally agree with every word!

  2. Thanks, Susan, thrilled to hear it! It’s almost revolutionary when people step back and reconsider their perspective. We need to spread the word on this one!

  3. It is always good to own your age! It is also good to have passion about what you do in a position…this is ageless! Only you can present yourself and get their minds off your age, and on to your talents!

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