We're often approached by HR leaders, with the request to review their CV's / Resumes; to provide support to make these documents "more compelling".  This request is particularly frequent from folks who have bee struggling to fine their next career role.

Too often the request is accompanied with the frustration of being over 50 and apparently encountering ageism as part of an application process.

Firstly, for context, it may help job seekers to understand that in recruitment agency land, many of the staff are aged under 30.  Certainly in the UK, many of those bunnies are fresh out of university.  A similar age demographic applies within the internal recruitment teams of many corporations.To them, 50 is the equivalent of "ready for retirement".

I remember sitting with my then colleagues in a London office, and having one of them exclaim - look at this CV, this person has been working for 30 years, which is longer than I've been alive! This was met with sniggers and head nods from all present. Except me. When I stated that I too at that time had been working for 30 years, I was met with shocked faces. 

Ageism absolutely exists and it too often starts with those recruitment gatekeepers. Interestingly, when I speak with business leaders, they're often unaware that the only CV's being presented to them are for "career runway" talent, rather than "been there, done it and got the tshirt" talent. They just assume that more experienced folk aren't interested and moan to me about how they wish they could find more mature professionals to hire.....

There are some creative elements you can utilise for your CV (without lying) that will help you to get past the bunnies who do the initial screening in a hiring process. The challenge is getting past the CV sift, to at least the point where you can at least speak (and pitch) to a live person at the hiring company.

1.       Don't include a photo. If you do, make sure it doesn't instantly date you (but also don't include a snap that is 20 years out of date - that is just fraudulent)

2.       Don't include the dates of your degree / qualifications

3.       For work done prior to say 1989 note only as Pre 1989 - "various roles after completing my studies" (or some such equivalent)

4.       If you're including interests on your resume, don't include the things that will date you (eg: school governor, looking after grand children)

5.       Make sure your LinkedIn page reflects this finnessing

6.       Close off your social media accounts to outside contacts - you don't want the recruitment bunny seeing your graduation pics with your 70's flares & afro hair

7.       Target companies who value age (often easy to tell after a little research on their staff on LinkedIn for instance)

Of course, having a compelling Resume, that gives you the chance to pitch yourself in a screening call or interview, is just one element, and we'll share more on this in our next issue.