AARP Eye Center
Age discrimination in employment can happen many different ways. Sometimes it starts at the very beginning of the hiring process, when employers review information such as social media profiles to screen candidates.
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According to a CareerBuilder survey, 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, while 43 percent of employers use social media to check on current employees. This means that if you aren't using social media to your best advantage, it may hurt your chances during the hiring process.
LinkedIn is one of the biggest networking sites for professionals. If you don't have a profile there, you should create one. It's worth the time and effort for older workers to join LinkedIn as this in itself shows you're up to date and can help you avoid some age bias. It's also a great place to connect with people in your industry, look for jobs, and let select people know you're looking for your next opportunity.
Here are some tips about how you can age-proof your LinkedIn profile, section-by-section:
1. Create a catchy headline
Just as a good newspaper headline makes you want to read the story, a good LinkedIn headline will entice people to review your profile. Make sure the headline quickly shows what you have to offer and includes relevant keywords that both human and automated recruiters will search for. (You can find those keywords in the language used in job postings you are interested in.) Also, don't include your years of work experience in the headline — unless you want to tip someone off about your age from the beginning.
2. Show passion in your summary
One of the best ways to convey that you've still got what it takes is to show that you're still passionate about your work and industry and that you're up to date on current trends. Showing this knowledge will make a recruiter or hiring manager take notice.
The summary is also the place to provide additional details about your experience, your achievements, and what you hope to do in the next phase of your career. Leave off the dates, and keep the information fresh and relevant to what you've done recently, not what you did 15 years ago.
3. Focus on the scope of your experience
In the experience section of your profile, think breadth, not length. You definitely don't want to include job history from more than 15 years ago. However, you do want to showcase the industries you have worked with, the skills you've acquired, and the achievements you've earned over the years. Just do so without the dates. A bulleted list works well.