Job Search Question Of The Week: Am I Old Enough For Ageism?

Oct 6 2011 in Featured, Job Search Strategy, reCareered Blog by Phil Rosenberg

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At the end of my Resume Revolution complimentary webinars (enroll at, I open up the floor to job search questions … from you.

This was an interesting job search question asked by J.K. during a recent webinar:

“At what age do candidates need to worry about ageism? Does it differ based on industry, job, region, gender, etc? I ask this because I think I am on the cusp of needing to worry about it. I am 48 years old and am looking for a Controller/Treasurer/CFO position. Nowhere on my résumé did I give any indication as to my age. During a recent interview with the Director of HR, she said I was a young man and I should include the year of my graduation from college on my résumé.”

There’s no magic age for ageism.

While ageism starts for many companies for candidates around 40, it really depends on the individual company and its culture. For example, startups with founders in their 20’s may consider anyone over 40 as too old for their culture. Other companies, with older executives and customer bases may actively seek older employees.

I haven’t seen different age-based hiring behavior due to job, region, or gender. There is some evidence of a lower likelihood of ageism in certain industries. Typically industries with a more senior customer base seek more senior employees … because more senior employees relate to older customers more effectively.

There’s also some evidence that ageism starts at an earlier age for staff and managers, but less so for executive positions – but this depends on the specific company. For example, some company might shy away from hiring sales people in their 40’s, but may actively look for V and C level executives who are well into their 50’s. I haven’t heard of a single case yet where a company actively looks for sales people in their 50’s but won’t touch V & C level executives once they hit 40 … have you?

As for your graduation date – why try to hide it? When you leave off graduation date, it sets off a red flag for readers who are experienced in reviewing resumes. Experienced resume readers know that when a candidate leaves off a graduation date they’re usually trying to hide their age, or that they didn’t actually graduate.

At the very least, it leaves a first impression of distrust.

So leaving off your graduation date backfires on most candidates – it’s like warning the reader that you might be too old for the company, so they’d better look closer before offering you an interview or a job.

You’re better to not play that game, and just list your graduation dates. Rather than trying to hide your age, I recommend looking for companies who actively seek more senior employees.

I list a number of ways to find companies that actively seek more senior employees at .


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Author: Phil Rosenberg

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