- The Essential Military-to-Civilian Transition Resource

From the Blog: How to Deal With Age Discrimination

by Jessie Richardson, Contributing Writer

While illegal and unethical, age discrimination exists in today's job market. In fact, surveys show that age discrimination rises when times are tough. You cannot change cultural biases in society, but with the right information and a strategy, you can lessen their impact on your job search.

Your resume is likely your first impression, so let's begin with some tactics for your resume. The temptation for most retiring military job seekers is to list everything they have done in the last 20 years. Hiring managers only want to see the last 10 years of experience. Remove older experience from your resume because it dates you and is likely to be considered irrelevant anyway. Also remove older dates on degrees and diplomas.

Retired military leaders wear many hats throughout their careers. When it comes to the job search, I suggest wearing just one. At, we believe that military resumes should say "I have 20 years of experience" vs. one year of experience times 20. However, only the master copy of a resume should be considered "multipurpose." A resume should be finely tuned and targeted for a specific position. Represent only that experience which lends itself well to the job requirements. Emphasize your track record of performance in the targeted area and simply mention or summarize the rest. This will give resume filters less of an opportunity to toss your resume out. CEOs care about return on investment, cost savings, and how you are going to help them increase revenue.

Finally, think like a salesperson, even if you are not. Prepare to deal with objections prior to encountering them. Potential obstacles are age, health issues, and high salary requirements. If asked in an interview about your weekend, mention the fact that you enjoyed mountain biking with some friends. When asked about salary requirements, make it clear that you would accept an offer at the high end of the range they would offer a more junior employee, with the understanding that it will be reevaluated in six months. This lets the employer know that you are confident in your ability to bring more to the table than they expect you will.

With the proper know-how, an extraordinary military career, and the mindset that age is an asset, anyone can conquer the job market.

Jessie Richardson, CPRW, is director of resume services at, the military-to-civilian transition experts. She is a Naval Academy graduate and a regular commentator on job search best practices for military-experienced job seekers. Read more transition advice online at the blog.

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