FAQ: Should You List Your Birth Date on Your CV or Resume?
In this article, we review the concept of listing your date of birth on your resume and explain how to address age-related information in a job application.
Should you include your date of birth on a resume?
In most situations, you should avoid including your date of birth on your resume. In the past, it was more acceptable and even expected to include personal details on your resume like your age or even your marital status. The passage of anti-discrimination legislation has made employers focus more on an applicant’s professional experience than their personal characteristics, so putting your age on your resume is no longer standard practice. Because how old you are shouldn’t have any bearing on your ability to succeed in a new position, leave this information off of your resume and other application materials.
Modern employers are more mindful of discrimination based on age and other personal factors, making your date of birth irrelevant to hiring decisions. Many employers actively work to avoid learning about the age of their job applicants so they can avoid applying an unconscious bias about age to their hiring decisions. By leaving information about your birth date off of your resume, you can support equitable hiring practices and give yourself a fair chance at getting hired.
Can your age impact your job application?
Having your age listed on your resume can have a negative impact on your job application. Although it is illegal for employers to discriminate against potential employees based on their age, age-based discrimination can still happen. Some employers may feel that applicants in a certain age group are more qualified for their field of work than others. Hiring managers can have internal perceptions about younger or older individuals that unconsciously impact their opinions about a candidate.
Age discrimination particularly impacts older people because employers may assume that they have outdated skills or aren’t able to grow with the company long-term. Younger individuals can also experience age discrimination from employers that think young employees can’t lead a team or command respect as a professional. While not all employers have these inaccurate biases, it’s still important to protect yourself by withholding details about your age in the initial application.
If you explicitly list your age on your resume, this can cause employers to consider it as a factor in their hiring decision. While you don’t have to hide your age completely, avoiding the subject until you get hired is a wise idea to avoid any unintentional judgement.
Benefits of omitting your date of birth on a job application
Leaving out your date of birth on a job application can help you optimize your chances for getting an interview. By being mindful about the personal details you use on your resume, you can give employers the best impression possible. Here are some of the primary benefits of having a resume that doesn’t reveal your age:
Showing situational awareness
Because age isn’t a part of most modern resumes, having your date of birth on a resume can make you seem out of touch with current standards of professionalism. By omitting your birth date, you show an up-to-date understanding of best practices for job applications. This demonstrates situational awareness, which is a valuable soft skill in the workplace. Eliminating your age from your resume shows employers that you’re serious about emphasizing your skills and don’t expect your age to factor into an employment decision.
Adding unnecessary personal information can distract employers from the important qualifications on your resume, so omitting your birthday can direct attention directly to your work experience and skills. If you list your date of birth, the employer may immediately calculate how old you are and consider how your age could impact you on the job. Leaving your birth date off of your resume allows recruiters and hiring managers to focus on your relevant qualifications and start reading about your professional experience and training right away.
Removing your age from your resume helps you avoid and assumptions or judgments about your age. Everyone has their own personal biases, and it’s impossible to know how each individual hiring manager would respond to seeing your age. By not displaying your date of birth outright, you can completely avoid any assumptions about your experience, work ethic, workplace habits or future plans.
Focusing on the present
By deleting your birth date from your resume, you can keep your application focused on your current abilities and skills. If an employer knows how old you are from your resume, they could compare the timeline of your professional experience to your age at the time. To get the best impact from your resume, you should emphasize you current capabilities and how you can progress in your career regardless of your age.
Streamlining your resume format
Most resumes are only a page long, so you have limited space to express all of your qualifications. Your date of birth may only be a few words and numbers, but this still takes up space on your resume. The line that you use to write down your birthday could be better applied to the experience or skills section. Writing your resume without your birth date allows you to simplify your resume format and use all of the space on the page wisely.
Protecting against misuse of information
Having your birth date on your resume, along with other personal information, could put you at risk for identity theft. This is especially true if you post your resume on job sites, which is often an essential part of the modern job search. Withholding information about the exact date and year of your birth can protect against someone else misusing your information or pretending to be you online.
How to hide your age on your resume
Even if you don’t have your birthday directly listed on your resume, employers can still interpret other information on your application to deduce your age. If you’re concerned that an employer might judge you based on your age, there are several steps you can take to remove details about your age on your resume. These tips can help you ensure that your date of birth won’t impact your success in the initial resume review stage of your job applications:
1. Keep your header simple
The most basic way to hide your age on your resume is to only include your name and contact information in your header. If you included your date of birth on a past version of your resume, eliminate that line. Starting with a simple header with no references to your age is a great way to create an age-neutral resume.
2. Adjust your education section
Some employers make assumptions about job applicants based on the year that they graduated high school or college. Not everyone attends college right after high school, and some people take longer to graduate than others, but your graduation year can still give employers a general idea of how old you are.
To remove associations between your education timeline and your age, you can delete any details about when you started and finished school. Eliminating references to your graduation year is a simple way to make your application timeless and emphasize the quality of your degree instead of when you earned it.
3. Emphasize recent experience
When discussing your professional experience, start with your most recent accomplishments. If your first job was 20 years ago, including it on your resume could unintentionally age you. Some people even remove the specific dates of employment for past positions to eliminate any references to their age. Whether you decide to include dates or not is up to your personal preference, but you should still put the most emphasis on your recent positions.
4. Focus on accomplishments instead of seniority
Describe your main achievements in the workplace to show your aptitude for success instead of simply stating how many years of experience you have. Saying that you have one year of experience in a field could make you seem young and inexperienced, even if you completed impressive accomplishments. Similarly, stating that you have over 40 years of experience in a field could cause employers to think that you’re at the end of your career or are ready to retire soon. Instead, discuss your growth in past positions and describe your proudest successes.
5. Update your email
Make sure your email address reflects that you’re a modern professional by considering both your email provider and your username. Regardless of your age, you should show that you’re tech-savvy by using an email account from a popular, modern email provider. Some people may have email addresses from companies that have changed or no longer exist. For example, some people have email accounts from Hotmail, even though Microsoft re-branded from Hotmail to Outlook in 2012. Sign up for a Gmail account or research other professional email providers to consider.
You should also review your email username. Having your birth year in your username can automatically reveal your age. You should also avoid any references to hobbies, inside jokes or other non-professional details. Create a username based on your first and last name to have a professional, neutral email account to use on your resume.
Related: How To Age-Proof Your Resume
Should you list your age on other job application materials?
Although you should omit your age from your resume, you may need to enter date of birth information when filling out other job application materials. For example, an employer may have you fill out a form with your birthday when running a background check. You might also need to share your birthday when signing up for an account on a job site. Additionally, your employer may ask if you’re over 18 as a way to determine your eligibility to work. These instances are appropriate times to share your date of birth with your potential employer.
When should you include your date of birth on a resume?
While resumes typically don’t include age information in the United States, other countries and cultures may have different expectations. In some countries, it’s standard practice to list your date of birth and other personal information. Some places outside of the United States might even expect you to include a photograph on your resume. If you’re applying for a position abroad, research local customs and expectations for application materials before submitting your resume.
How to include your date of birth on your resume
If you’re in a situation where you want to include your date of birth on your resume, follow these steps:
1. Consider a personal details section
When applying for jobs in a country that expects you to list your age, you may want to create a specific section where you list all of your personal details. Under your header but above your education, dedicate a few lines to sharing personal information like your date of birth.
2. Use the header
If you don’t want to include other personal details, try putting your date of birth in the header of your resume. Underneath your name and contact information, include a line that briefly lists your date of birth.
3. Format the date
Be clear about your date of birth by writing out the month in full. If you decide to use an abbreviation, make sure you have the date and month in the correct order.