From time to time we hear the word ‘ageism’. This can come from within organisations or through the media. Fortunately, I haven’t heard it a lot recently and I am hoping that it is something that is diminishing. Mature workers have so much experience to offer employers!
Connected to this, is applying for a new role in later life and in this context, many mature workers find that they are not reaching the short list for interviews. This doesn’t have to be so! Strategically, there are a number of things that we can do when we review our CV, to position ourselves well, emphasising our experience, achievements, and skills rather than our age.
Firstly, a key aspect is to position ourselves well on the front page of our CV and not disclose our age. This includes several things.
Write an opening paragraph that for example, highlights the relevant experience you have to offer, those areas you particularly enjoy in a role, and what drives you. In other words rather than say what you want, talk about your experience. This provides the reader with a good overview.
The next very important aspect to have on your CV, and in fact one that many people leave out, is a list of your skills and alongside each one, a brief (one-two lines each) about your specific approach with each skill. The importance of this can’t be over emphasised as employers are looking to see if you have a match of skills with those they are looking for.
If you have qualifications, list them on the front page, but don’t add when you completed them because that gives your age away.
An optional extra on the front page, could be a section, no more than four to five bullet points, entitled Career highlights. These highlights should draw attention to aspects you have experience/success in that are directly related to the role you are applying for.
All of the above, will make you stand out and position you well, thus encouraging the reader of your CV to want to turn the page and find out more about you.
Secondly, for the remainder of your CV, list your current and previous employment history that shows the last 15-20 years and include the dates. For the remainder of your employment history, head this area up with the heading Prior to (for example) 2002 and list relevantroles, without dates beside them.
With this approach you will see that nowhere when the reader goes through your CV, will they be able to calculate your age. This approach has enabled mature workers to have a greater opportunity to get onto the short list. And with this opportunity, then be able to get in front of a panel to demonstrate their capability and enthusiasm for the role. Obviously, the next step is you convincing the panel that you are the right person for the role, but at least with this approach you have this opportunity.