3 Tips to Fight Ageism When Job Hunting

Age matters a great deal in the job search. Until the age of 28, your hireability rises 9% every year.

Unfortunately, as our data suggests, once you’ve reached 35 your hireability begins to decrease by 8% every year.

Age discrimination is, of course, illegal; at no point during the job search process should a candidate be asked their age. Job listings also cannot preference ages specifically or indirectly. An example of the latter might be where a job listing says that an analyst with 20+ years of experience need not apply. Regardless of legal protections though, ageism remains both persistent and pervasive. This is especially true if you’re past 35 years of age and have been laid off or fired.

Our data suggests that the more experience you have the more you are punished if you are fired, laid off, or quit early. These are considered resume “blemishes”. Here, the dominating cost is less how far back it sets you but rather how many future good working years it robs from you. So, how do you combat this -ism when applying to jobs?

Keep them guessing

The best age to get a job is between 28 and 35. During this time, our data suggests you are +25.1% more hireable over everyone else. Here’s the thing: this is inferred age, meaning hiring managers are using the dates on your resume to measure your age, be it an unintentional bias or not.

If you’re over the age of 35, don’t include your graduation date. If you only have your most recent 2-3 jobs listed, they can’t tell that you started working in the 1990s.

Stay Current

Modern skills help hiring managers overcome their bias. Your aptitude regarding technological trends speaks for itself. Go above and beyond. For instance, if you’re a business analyst take a SQL course. This not only shows your prowess for current database management (which is now becoming the norm) but your ability to learn new skills. At some point, it doesn’t matter how much you have used excel pivot tables if you’re not continuing to learn and develop.

Dust off Your Template

Speaking of modernity and conquering biases, retool your resume. One easy way to level the playing field is making sure your resume template and fonts are “modern”. A hiring manager will give any resume approximately 6 seconds of their time and a visually pleasing resume that is skimmable makes a difference.

What does a 2018 resume template look like: a good use of white space, important elements at the top (absolutely no objectives), a ‘Key SKills’ section, and machine parsable information to beat resume bots.


Ageism in the job search process and workplace is everyone’s problem. According to a study conducted by AARP, 64% of workers either experienced age discrimination or witnessed it in their own place of work. Protecting yourself from this bias by making small changes on your resume may seem insignificant but levels the playing field and gives you the chance you deserve for an interview.

For $10/month we can automatically find the best jobs and pre-fill job applications for you based on your desired role, location and years of experience. In addition, you’ll get our Interview Guarantee — if we can’t get you an interview within 60 days, we’ll refund everything back to you, guaranteed. (90% of job-seekers using TalentWorks get an interview in 60 days or less).