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Would You Botox Your Resume?

Too much experience can be a career-killer, especially in today’s hyper-competitive job market. So is it legitimate to delete your first job or three, in hopes of erasing some telltale age-lines from your resume?

The signals from career experts appear mixed. We’ve heard a couple of headhunters call it a no-no. They say that ethical questions would arise once the omitted jobs are revealed by a background check. (Headhunters also point out that a necessary corollary of the “botox” strategy – omitting university graduation dates – is pointless, since a Wall Street employer will invariably demand that information before deciding to interview a candidate.)

On the other hand, a recent Wall Street Journal “On Style” column showcases a succcessful resume makeover that empowered a 49-year old woman to land two jobs in a short time, after a period of rejections that experts agreed were solely due to her age. (Although not in finance, she worked in another youth-obsessed business: entertainment.) The story cites career consultant Wendy Enelow’s opinion that removing early jobs and dates is ethical, and her suggestion that anything before the latest 10 to 15 years of experience is deletion-bait.

Do you think this is legitimate, or deceptive? Have you ever tried it (or know someone who did)? If so, did it work?

Comments (12)

  1. definitely

  2. I believe that it is alright to remove information that may give away your age. I have great telephone interviews, but when I get in front of a potential employer and age is no questions thing tend to go south very quickly.

  3. Definitely leave it off. If not for age reasons, for relevancy. My first few jobs have little to do with what industry I am now working.

  4. I’ d botox my butt if it would help! Get hip, 60 is the new 40,

  5. If it is not relevant to your present career, then I would leave it out. Displaced mortgage industry professionals have enough stigma to overcome, without throwing age into the mix.

  6. It the jobs are not relevant to the job you are applying for then I think it’s ok to delete them.

  7. If 60 is the new 40, then you still will be affected by your age.

  8. my first job was as a nuclear engineer. i am now in the investment industry. let’s say i was the world’s best or worst nuclear engineer back in the late 80’s….. of what relevance is this compared to say earning my CFA or MS Financial Engineering which is far more recent? Obviously, I don’t include my accomplishments as a Potable / Non-potable / Reactor Cooling Water Systems Engineer. I follow the 10 year rule to keep my resume at 2 pages.

  9. Relevant, schmelavant! I am 55 and exactly in that position and EVERYONE I’ve discussed this topic with advise to leave off your first few jobs. I’m currently in an outplacement program paid by my former employer and every consultant advises to go back no more than 15 years in your work experience, better is 10-12 yrs.. The reason? All the better to focus on the position scope statements and most importantly, fully list the accomplishments for each position noting what YOU did in the accomplishment and what you’ll bring to your next employer.

    Those so-called head-hunters that indicate it’s a no-no had better wake-up and figure out just how competitive it is out there for the job seekers. They should have some clue due to the limited positions projects available. Besides, I fully advise any interviewer that some of my prior experience does not appear on my resume. Ethics are for class discussions and lawyers….just be HONEST and do the right thing when asked!

  10. A 10-15 year historyshould be sufficient, especially when resumes are expected to be no longer than 2 pages. Relevancy is also a factor. My first job was with a bank as a customer service representative and has nothing to do with what I do now. I deleted it from my resume. Besides that I doubt that after all these years the bank would have any record of me should someone try to verify it.

    Margaret Icklan Reply
  11. While it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of age, companies can avoid the prosecution and the present political situation is to turn a “blind eye” to enforcement. The Age discrimination prohibition is a “joke”. Companies do discriminate. Deleting outdated employment history is necessary. Getting an interview in a depressed economy is tough enough.

  12. My recent experience is that the job market is hyper competitive for the hirers not the hirees! Relevant experience – I’d say keep it concise, although some employers do require every little detail for security checks.

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