The only people who have a harder time getting meaningful work than young people are…old people.   Who wants to hire an untested, overconfident, healthy, good looking, inexperienced candidate?  Who wants to hire a burnt out, balding, high cholesterol, candidate with outdated skills?  Not the 38 year-old hiring manager you are talking to, that’s for sure!

So what are you going to do about it?  A surprising number of people think that if they avoid the issue, no one will ever notice…this is not correct.  One avoidance technique is to skip putting in years of graduation - you aren’t fooling anybody!  If all your jobs have been part-time in the hospitality industry with a short period as a test subject in psych experiments, everyone knows you just graduated from college.

If you had a job in the Carter administration…well, you get the idea.

The point is, unless you lie on your resume, you aren’t going to fool anyone and even if you do lie, they will see your age soon enough.  So be up front!  Put in the dates of your university time - don’t make people guess!  Show the dates of your most significant jobs - you don’t need to go back to 1955 with every part-time or temp position, but don’t think you’re putting anything over on anyone.

If appropriate, address the issue in your cover letter - why, although you are young/old, you are perfect.  You’ll have to convince them sometime.

Of course, if you are lucky enough to be applying for  a job where your age/experience is perfect for the position, you don’t need to worry or explain.  But if you think you might be considered too young/too old (for a job you really want and are at least arguably qualified for), don’t hide your age - flaunt it!

Next post: Applying for positions you aren’t likely to get & how to make it worth it.

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  • Can you be overqualified?;
  • Targeting your resume - can there be too much of a good thing?