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Age discrimination is an illegal practice, but don't assume that it doesn't happen. Avoiding ageism is always a challenge, but here are some tips so that you can at least get your foot in the door.
You can help to avoid age discrimination by not listing your complete work history on your resume. Instead of giving your complete 40-year work history, you can describe the most recent 15-20 years of your work experience under the heading of “Recent Work History,” “Relevant Work History,” or simply “Work History.”
It's probable that your most important and relevant experience was developed during the last 15-20 years, so relating the responsibilities of your first job probably wouldn't help your cause. You may, however, refer to any prior critical experience by adding a paragraph at the end of your resume that doesn't mention dates (“Prior Relevant Experience”).