Education Career Services

September 23, 2009

Young Jobseekers: How to Gain Credibility and Guard Against Age Discrimination

By Bret Hoveskeland

September 23If you happen to be a youthful current jobseeker, which of the two categories represent you the best:

1) the fresh-faced, young adult in college or recent graduate with a sparse resume?
2) the 31-year-old, fresh-faced, but not-so-recent college graduate hunting for a career job? 

How do you go about convincing potential employers when meeting for the first time that, despite your youthful appearance, you are still the right candidate for the job?  Here are a few guidelines this young writer found useful on combating similar employment situations:

Dress to Thrill

That is, to thrill them conservatively, not as some modern fashion victim or poster child for what not to wear at a job interview.  Dressing the part when meeting prospective employers is always the first rule-of-thumb to abide by, not only for making a great first impression, but also for getting any hiring manager to think you show serious interest in the position or company in question.  If a manager has one open position closely narrowed down to two final candidates, the choice may very well hinge on which one has a more professional, presentable appearance…. Appearance matters.  In addition, looking your most professional adds a perception of experience to those with a strikingly youthful look.

Regularly List Numbers and Figures for a Professional Background

When applicable, include the total number of years experience in a given field on the resume.  Whether the jobseeker is a recent college graduate with limited work experience or a workplace vet sporting the baby-faced look, giving employers solid numbers gives them a far greater idea of one’s special skills, as well as more confidence in what a candidate can do for the respective company.  Vague, generalized skill statements do not provide employers with proof of what the jobseeker is capable of doing.  On the other hand, if a candidate has accumulated years of experience in, for example, customer service positions, it can make that candidate look more wise in their years to list the number of total years experience on a resume, regardless of it being divided between different fields, such as retail, sales, or even an office environment.

Showcase Special Collegiate Skills and Experience

For jobseekers who may have not gained much work experience during their college careers, do not hesitate to include any significant college experiences that have aided in marketing one’s employable skills.  Internships, externships, student organizations, or specialty clubs that build skills in one’s major interest of study further enhance the new jobseeker’s resume and add to the experience he or she can list on a resume.  It also helps show that the candidate was proactive in developing their skills outside of the classroom, even if not in the current job market.

Use Caution Involving Social Networks

One word of warning more prevalent to modern young jobseekers, is to exercise caution when using or becoming a member of popular social networking websites, such as Facebook, MySpace, etc.  Not only does social networking usage tend to be higher with younger jobseekers, but in our American culture, we are hearing more cases of these sites causing problems for students and job candidates alike.  If a potential employer happens to come across a candidate’s profile on such a site and see information that may appear less than appealing or in poor taste, it can very well result in the jobseeker compromising their sought-after position with a prospective company.

In addition to these interview guidelines, it might not hurt to remember the appropriate song titles to various 70s tunes by such bands as Bad Company and Foghat.  And remember that BTO stands for Bachman-Turner Overdrive.  Knowing such facts can certainly help show your potential employers that your fresh-out-of-high-school looks might not be just what they seem.

Thank you Bret for your insight and no doubt many of our followers will benefit from your comments.

Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP
Education Career Services:
Career Services International:



  1. I usually don’t post on Blogs but ya forced me to, great info.. excellent! … I’ll add a backlink and bookmark your site.

    Comment by DennisVega — September 30, 2009 @ 10:31 pm

  2. Your blog is so informative … ..I just bookmarked you….keep up the good work!!!!

    Comment by Tnelson — October 1, 2009 @ 4:05 am

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