Avoiding age discrimination on your cv

CV Guru Emma Alkirwi gives some advice on how to avoid your CV being used to discriminate against you on the grounds of your age.

Laptop with CV on it depicting job search


In the UK it is unlawful to discriminate against someone applying for work due to their age. There are a few exceptions, but there has to be a good enough reason to do so and this would have to be proven in Court.

According to Natalie O’Hare from BeyondHR, asking for an applicant’s age is a big NO and there needs to be a strong business case to do so and this is known in legal terms as ‘objective justification’. Natalie states that age can be asked after the person has been recruited and this is normally contained on the new employee details form. But there is definitely no requirement to ask someone’s age at the application stage as this serves no purpose in the recruitment process unless the employer can make a clear business case for it.

However, there are reports that many applicants believe they are not receiving interview invitations or being successful in obtaining a job because of their age.

Here are some ways to avoid age discrimination based on your CV:

Do not include your personal details

Historically date of birth was a requirement and now it is definitely not, so keep this out. There is also no need to include marital status, sex or religion. These factors do not impact your ability to do the job so do not include these details.

Career summary

You do not need to detail every job you have every done. Going back around 15 years is perfectly acceptable and your most recent jobs are probably more relevant to what you are applying for anyway. In addition to this you do not want your CV to be too long.


There is no requirement at all to include dates of your qualifications so listing the degree, subjects or training is completely acceptable.

Tailor your CV

The purpose of the CV is to assess whether you have the skills and expertise to effectively fulfil the job so ensure you tailor your CV to each job you apply for. This can be done in the professional profile and the key skills section where you can align these sections to what the job is looking for. This also assists with Applicant Tracking Systems.

Phrases to avoid

There are certain phrases employers should avoid when advertising for a role and these are the same when writing your CV. Both sides should avoid phrases such as ‘over a certain number of years’ experience in your field’ or ‘mature’.

It is, of course, important that you take care and attention to include all of the most relevant information in your CV and application for each role.  But it is equally important to ensure you exclude information that is not relevant or appropriate.

I hope the tips give you some helpful guidance when writing your CV, which will hopefully help you avoid age discrimination based on your CV alone.

More tips from the CV Guru.

Comments [6]

  • Edward Godfrey says:

    The tips about omitting DOB are spot on. From late forties on, I also made sure anything that hinted at my age or length of career was omitted. This worked very well. Only the last few years should be important.

  • Jeny says:

    The interviewer take notes always about my DOB, so, indirect my age is involved and I am rejected after the interview. At 66 years, I can not apply for a job, even if I feel that I have enough health and energy to still give a lot?

  • Valerie Cale says:

    I took O levels in 1976 which were changed to GCSE in 1977 I think. Is it acceptable to enter my 8 A-C passes as GCSE level otherwise it is obvious I am 60 and of course no pension till 66!

    • Mandy Garner says:

      Hi, I have asked our cv expert, CV Guru, to respond.

    • Mandy Garner says:

      From Emma Alkirwi, CV guru: You can change this to GCSEs if you wish as they are now the equivalent or alternatively if you feel uncomfortable with this you can put GCSE equivalent and then list your subjects. If you were Scotland these would be known as Nat 5s so writing GCSE equivalent is no problem as it can be for a range of different reasons.

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