How to Avoid Discrimination in Your 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, practicing a bit of discretion might make it easier for you to get your foot in the door.

Examples

Age

  • 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 they require (for example, 7+).
  • If you’re a recent graduate, it’s fine to reference your education, however if you’re an older jobseeker we’d suggest you remove your education and training so they can’t predict your age.
  • 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  • Don’t include outdated skills or qualifications (e.g. COBOL, voice telephony, O Levels etc.)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. Above all, 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.

Disability

  • 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, then it might be worth clarifying your position beforehand.
  • If you make it through to the 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 the applicant’s marital status. If you’re single they might assume you’re likelier to work longer hours or accept a lower pay. If you’re married and female they might also worry that you’ll take time off to start a family. There’s no need to include your 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. 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.

For more career advice, check out our younger or older jobseeker tools and tips.