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Lately I've been wondering whether I'm aging out as what managers and others think are "software engineers" that can do the job. FYI I'll be 57 this summer.

Obviously once face to face, age is hard to hide, but on the resume I could

  • leave off the years I went to school and graduated
  • cut off jobs/experience older than say 12 years

I've had headhunters say it's a bad idea, but I'm starting to think I need to, but maybe I'm just paranoid.

Is leaving out experience or dates in order to hide one's age acceptable in the software industry?

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Is leaving out experience or dates in order to hide one's age acceptable in the software industry?

Been there, done that (on both sides of the hiring process).

It's a perfectly normal tactic to scrub your resume and remove all traces of age.

  • Include only the past 10 years or so of experience
  • Remove dates from education items and anything else that doesn't require dates
  • Remove any outdated/obsolete technologies or anything else that would say "old"
  • Try to include and highlight any new technologies and processes in which you are experienced
  • In your cover letter, say "experienced" rather than something like "35 years experience"

That might help you get more interviews.

Make sure you keep yourself up to date on newer technologies and processes. Take courses and/or participate in open source projects if needed. Make sure you know, and can use, current buzzwords while avoiding older terms.

Consider companies and roles where age may not be a hindrance. For example, often management is expected to be on the older side. Some development-related roles tend to skew older that roles for pure coders.

Network with friends near your age who can give you an idea which companies might be hiring folks with your "depth of experience".

More tips: https://www.google.com/#q=avoiding+ageism+on+your+resume

I've had headhunters say it's a bad idea

Ignore them.

  • If you get an interview only because you've omitted "old" stuff and have included new buzzwords, do you really stand a chance in that interview? – Brandin Mar 28 '17 at 8:31
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You can switch to a competency based CV format some times called a pitch CV instead of a chronological one.

The idea is you highlight your skills and competencies by using examples from your work history - tailored to each job.

This works better for older candidates but does mean more work producing a per job tailored CV

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Is your goal to get invited to interviews, or to get hired? If you hide your age, potential employers will figure it out as soon as you walk in the door, and the ones who have already decided to discriminate based on age will talk to you politely for a little while, then send you home. You will have had your interview but wasted your time. Your (and my!) biggest problem is you don't know who those employers are (the discriminators), so you have to attempt to kiss a lot of frogs (so to speak). If you have relevant/buzzword equivalent experience on your resume, flaunt it. If they don't call you for an interview, mentally thank them for not wasting your time and drive on to the next prospective employer. The important thing is to keep wading in the frog pond until you find an employer who needs your experience. Good luck.

  • 2
    This assumes that ageism is a constant factor across a whole company. If you can get to an interview you may meet someone who isn't ageist, and at least you get to talk about your skills and may overcome any ageist tendencies. – DJClayworth Mar 27 '17 at 22:47
  • I'm not assuming ageism. I'm assuming that if their culture supports it, if you fail to mention your degree is from before they invented the interweb, they will not look kindly upon you when you are sitting in front of them. So be up front about it. "If you can get to an interview you may meet some who isn't ageist..." So, lie on your resume in the hope that you will wow them with your pitch? That better be a heckuva pitch. – Nolo Problemo Mar 28 '17 at 2:37
  • It's not a lie, and it's important to realize it's not a lie. Nobody is obliged to put all information about themselves on a resume, because nobody can. – DJClayworth Mar 28 '17 at 3:48

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