By Wilma Bedford
Applying for a job is challenging at best, but if you are already 40 or suspect that you are already too old it begins to look hopeless. There are ways of hiding your age on your CV. Your CV is an instrument to get you an interview, after which you can negotiate if your age is a factor.
Be aware of the fact that the recruiter will closely scrutinise your CV for clues that will give away your age, so make use of a few techniques on your CV that will make your age less prominent and ensure you of an interview.
The biggest mistake you can make, is to let your CV look like your memoires; it will also make you look overqualified and unaffordable. Enumerating all your experience could handicap you rather than being an asset. Cut out irrelevant experience and only mention relevant experience and emphasise technical skills that you have learnt and how you kept abreast of modern technology. Focus on relevant experience not older than 15 years. Your CV must show that you can solve the challenges or problems of the new position. Focus on talents that will make you stand out and make you meet the requirements of the position.
Be slow with dates. You don’t have to state your date of birth in your covering letter or CV. There are clues that could give away your age, such as the dates on which you received degrees, diplomas or certificates. It is sufficient just to mention that you did obtain the qualification. You will have to mention dates in connection with your experience, but leave out older roles from your CV.
Perhaps you interrupted your service years when you could not work because of family obligations. Be honest and mention it. The recruiter knows human circumstances. Mention the number of years during which you held a relevant position before leaving. Mention the skills you acquired in that time and positions you held as a volunteer, e.g. the school board of control.
Avoid mentioning old or standard software, computer or programming languages or typing speed, but emphasise your proficiency with programs such as Microsoft or Excel. Use a contemporary email address even though your local service provider may have given you good service for many years.
Emphasise your achievements and show how you were of value in your previous position. Rephrase terminology such as “responsible for” by being specific: “I developed and implemented a program/system to…”
Create a LinkedIn profile with a photo for yourself: this will show that you are aware of and involved in modern recruiting processes.
Stay actively involved in your profession by taking relevant courses and classes, attending conferences and reading professional literature. This shows that you have not stopped learning and you will find it easier to answer tricky questions at the interview.
Change the format of your CV so that it appears more contemporary. There are various examples on the internet. Consider inserting a short summary at the top of your CV in which you say what you have to offer.
You may think you’re too old and overqualified but don’t disqualify yourself right at the start. In older people firms see a person who can offer sustained mentorship, a person who is prompt, who is reliable and who has stamina and a person with good communication skills. Review your CV and be competitive!
Age Discrimination and Older Workers. http://www.mywage.co.za
4 Smart Moves to Age-Proof Your Resme. Alterma, E. http://www.themuse.com