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Is My Age Affecting My Job Search?

Q: I’m 55, and I think my age is affecting my job search. Is it keeping me from getting an interview?

A: As a former HR manager who has screened, recruited, and interviewed thousands of candidates for positions at all levels across multiple industries, I never once viewed someone who was 55 or any other age in a discriminating manner. I cannot speak for every person who ever hired someone—or whether they do or do not discriminate. I am sure that out there somewhere there are those who do. What I can tell you is, that when someone is reviewing your resume as the sole deciding factor for scheduling an interview, he or she should not be able to determine your age.

Unless you date yourself, that is. You shouldn’t go back more than 10-15 years on your resume or LinkedIn profile. If you’re only showing your last 15 years of employment on your resume, no one is going to be able to determine your age by that. Additionally, they would call to schedule an interview—and rarely can you ever tell a person’s true age by a telephone conversation. Sure, you might be able to differentiate between a child, adult, and senior citizen; but to be able to say: This person sounds 30 … or that person sounds 40? I don’t see that happening.

Chances are your age is not affecting your ability to get an interview since the means by which a hiring manager determines whether to interview a candidate or not are usually wrapped up in a resume, cover letter and/or prescreened telephone call.

Yes, I realize there are instances when you submit an application online and it requests your birth date; but very rarely—if ever—have I seen this while scanning a candidate’s application. Nor would I use it as a means for determining whether to interview a candidate.

So whether you’re 45, 55, or 65, chances are your age is not affecting whether you get the interview. Once you’re in the interview, however, whether true age discrimination comes into play or not will depend on the person(s) interviewing you. My two cents is, if the person and/or company is that shallow as to reject a candidate based on their age versus evaluating them based on their skills and the valuable benefits they can bring to the organization, then they’re not the kind of company you want to be employed with anyway!

Wouldn’t you rather work for an organization that values the wisdom that comes with life experiences—and age? A company that is open-minded enough to want to utilize your wisdom, experience, and expertise? I know that I would.

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Jessica Holbrook Hernandez

A nationally recognized resume expert, Jessica Holbrook Hernandez is President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast and a former human resources manager and recruiter. Leveraging more than ten years’ experience directing hiring practices for Fortune 500 companies, Jessica's innovative and brand-driven resume development strategies have secured a 99.6% interview-winning success rate for her clients. As a global resume authority and trusted media source, Jessica has been featured and quoted numerous times throughout CNN.com, The Chicago Tribune, Monster.com, Local Job Network Radio, International Business Times, and more.
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Jessica Hernandez, President of Great Resumes Fast is an expert panelist quoted numerous times throughout the newest release in this NY Times Bestselling Series:

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