NEW YORK, NY -- Fears of looking too young or too old are common among workers on both ends of the age spectrum. To help counteract the prejudices of hiring managers, co-workers and bosses, career counselors suggest that you highlight skills rather than age. Steps could include excising your graduation date from your resume, dressing differently, or taking care not to make references to world events that betray your age.
More mature candidates might eliminate items on their resume that are more than 15 years old as well as graduation dates. Highlight technological skills to counteract the assumption that older workers aren't comfortable with technology and try not to mention companies whose names disappeared many years ago. Lastly, avoid referring to world and business events that happened a long time ago.
Younger workers have the opposite problem. At the office, you might avoid youth-specific small-talk topics, such as cool new clubs. Instead, stick to universal social subjects. Avoid slang and try to eliminate "like" and "you know" from your speech. To prevent slip-ups, it helps to prepare thoughts before meetings and to anticipate questions and develop mature, articulate responses. On the resume, always list education credentials at the bottom of the resume, while emphasizing work experience.
So...the tip for "mature" workers: don't reference world events that might indicate you have a historical or social perspective. Hide your college graduation date lest you be grouped with those who actually had to show academic excellence in order to graduate, when going to college was considered a responsibility and a sign of diligence rather than a 4-year party paid for by your parents. Don't, God forbid, associate yourself with those who didn't need their SAT scores "re-centered" to accommodate the plummeting average score. Treat your age like a disease, rather than as proof that you have, oh, experience and maturity, so you can reinforce the myth that a sassy 25-year-old whose parents still pay his/her cell-phone bill is a better choice.
The tip for younger workers? Don't mention hip clubs. And act mature. But, apparently, not so mature that you're seen as, you know. Mature.