Tips for Overcoming Age and Weight Bias

age bias

A reader requests, “I would like to see you address issues such as older workers re-entering the job market. I’m 54 and, due to some limitations, need to make some changes. It’d be nice to see you address how people overcome appearance bias (such as weight issues). Even if someone should lose weight, that won’t occur instantaneously and that person may need work now.”

Our response: This is a fantastic question that many people can certainly relate to. Many older workers in today’s uncertain job market have faced potential age discrimination during a career transition. As Professional Resume Writers, we work with older workers in this position every day and have come up with a few things to help you put your best foot forward during your job search.

Resume Considerations

Include Only 10 to 15 Most Recent Years of Work Experience

The reality in today’s world is that technology and work expectations evolve quickly. While it may seem a good idea to list every job you have ever held, your resume should include only the most recent/relevant roles and achievements, or those which will best mirror the demands of the position you are applying for. Furthermore, because most people rise through a succession of responsible roles, it isn’t necessary to focus on basic skills that you have already built upon.

Keep It Short, Two Pages Or Less

Research has shown that most resumes are reviewed in less than 15 seconds. For this reason, it is very important to lead with the information that is most relevant to a busy hiring manager. Experience that is related to the position of interest but is not listed in the 10 to 15 year time period previously mentioned can be placed in a “skills” or “additional experience” section. This will allow you to include the relevant experience without focusing on when it took place. If asked, you can provide more details during the interview.

Highlight Recent Training

Are your job skills current? Have you taken training courses or attended conferences? Show that you are up to date with the latest information in your industry by including both your formal education and any additional training you may have. And if your knowledge and skills are not current, it’s a good idea to look into classes that will enhance this section of your resume.

Focus on What You Offer

It was common years ago for resumes to list an “objective”- a statement of what the job seeker was looking for. Nowadays, modern resumes should instead express the value that you will bring to a company. Illustrate to a recruiter your potential value to their organization by briefly describing your main skills and accomplishments.

Modify For Each Position

Your resume should be tailored specifically for the position to which you are applying. Are you suitably experienced for this job? Is there a chance you might be viewed as “overqualified”? Select and include your most relevant experiences on the resume.

Interview Considerations

Your resume worked – you stood out among other applicants and were selected for an interview. Now you need to stand out in person. This is the point that that older workers often feel apprehensive about their susceptibility to age discrimination.

During the interview, emphasize your past achievements, contributions and experience working as a part of a team. Research the company you are interviewing with ahead of time and prepare a few questions that display your interest in the organization and how you see yourself contributing to their future success.

Pay attention to your nonverbal communication. Wear a new, well-fitting suit or interview outfit. Use active listening skills. You might be a few pounds overweight or carry a few more wrinkles than another candidate, but you will stand out to the interviewer if you looked sharp, appear focused, and ask pertinent questions.

Good luck with your job search!