How to Avoid Discrimination in Your Job Search

Discrimination in job search

Unfortunately, many applicants fall victim to discrimination when applying for jobs. While most employers have the best of intentions, they still might harbour misconceptions about candidates from different backgrounds or who are of a certain age. Recruiters and employers alike can often be influenced by the following factors:

  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation

While we don’t think you should lie about any of the above, practising a bit of discretion might make it easier for you to get your foot in the door.

Examples

Age

Both older and younger jobseekers can face age related challenges when it comes to landing a new role. Here's how to avoid age discrimination in your job search:

  • Don’t include your date of birth on your CV. This is an unnecessary detail that often invites a certain amount of scrutiny. Let your experience – not your age – speak for itself.
  • Be mindful of the language you use. Instead of stating that you’ve had 20 years’ experience as an engineer, cite the minimum required (for example, 7+ years').
  • If you’re a recent graduate it’s fine to reference your education, however if you’re an older jobseeker we suggest removing dates from your education and training so your age can’t be predicted.
  • When listing your previous experience, don’t go further back than 15 years.
  • Don’t include outdated skills or qualifications (e.g. COBOL, voice telephony, O Levels etc.)
  • As silly as this might sound, your email client as well as your email address can sometimes give away your age. Hotmail and Yahoo tend to have an older user base, while Gmail is seen as more current. More importantly, try to stay away from stating your date of birth in your email address (e.g. dansmith62@gmail.com). Your name or a variation thereof should suffice.
  • Asses the company and the level of experience required by the vacancy. If they’re looking for a recent graduate or an apprentice, alluding to your age shouldn’t be an issue.

Disabilities

Unfortunately, some recruiters and employers discriminate against disabled candidates, whether consciously or not. To avoid this, we suggest the following:

  • First determine what the job demands of you, and whether your disability would hold you back. If it doesn’t encroach on your ability to do the job at hand, then you’re not obligated to mention it on your CV or application.
  • Pay careful consideration to the language used in the job advert; if they require someone who is active or has a driver’s license, for example, then it might be worth clarifying your position beforehand.
  • When you get invited to interview, you might want to ensure they’ll be able to accommodate your needs, depending on what your disability is.

Marital Status

Employers sometimes make assumptions about availability and ambition based on an applicant’s marital status. If you’re single they might assume you’re likelier to work longer hours or accept lower pay. If you’re married and female they might worry that you’ll take time off to start a family. There’s no need to include your marital status on your CV, and it’s seldom a required field on applications.

In short, it’s best to keep your application to the point and let your skills and experience speak for themselves. Details that allude to race, religion or age aren’t necessary, and simply put, have no bearing on your ability to do the job. Don’t give the employer a reason not to consider you – no matter how unfair that reason may be.

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