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Handling the issue of age

Potentially I might need to find another job in the near future (merger). I am 49, MCSE certified for just over a year and have been a network admin for just over 4 years. My prior background was as a engineering technician (AA degree in this field) usually dealing with computers in some aspect. I have sent out several resumes but have had essentially no response. I suspect my age must enter into this to some degree. Although I don't list my age, the job history and education info make it visible. Without actually seeing my resume I know it's difficult to make any judgments but if you think my age is a big issue how would you suggest handling it?

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Good for you. You recognize that your age might be influencing potential employers and you want to address it.

First, you can remove from your resume everything older than 10 years. Reducing the information on the resume will down play how many years of experience, but 10 years is more than enough. Try to keep it to one or two pages, and don't use a small font. Make sure you have adequate "white space" to make it pleasantly readable.

Second, your age may also be visible in your salary requirements. Someone with more years of experience is looking at a higher salary range than someone recently out of school.

Feel free to remove the dates on your education. Simply list the school, degree and GPA, if desired, and drop the graduation date.

Finally, your resume and cover letter are used to "screen candidates OUT" by HR/recruiters, so the less said the better. Don't provide too much in specifics. If you say you've done Novell networking, then you are not considered for any other types of networking. Simply saying "four years networking" will at least get them to call you to find out what kind.


This was first published in April 2001

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