Does being young make me less professional?

Some time ago, when I was starting out on my career path, I studied numerous articles on writing a perfect CV. Quite a few times I came across a suggestion that one shouldn’t mention his/her age on CV. Supposedly stating your age is – here comes the quote – “almost inviting age discrimination”. Supposedly being too young can put potential employers off hiring you regardless of your experience and skills.

Now, here’s my answer to this.

I do not have my date of birth on my CV, but I have no shame in mentioning that I’m of year 1995. My age is stated on the main page of my website. Should my future employers mistrust me as a candidate solely because I am too young – so be it.

I believe that my age in relation to my professional background says far more about my time management skills, work efficiency and intellectual abilities than my CV alone. I am, in fact, proud of the fact that I am only 23. Certainly I do not think I have done more, or better than others, but I am fairly satisfied with how I’ve been spending my time up till now.

I have just turned 23.

I have a Masters degree in Television journalism, which I finished with distinction last year.

My total professional experience in media and events – internships, projects and permanent work altogether – accounts for over 4 years.

I had my first TV sports news feature broadcast nationwide when I was 19.

I have done reporting, coordinating, producing, SMM.

I have worked at numerous international sports events such as Olympics, European Games, Asian Games, Confederation Cup. This year I could choose which offer for the World Cup suited me best.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not listing all of this here to emphasise my achievements. In fact, I feel like I’m living a life of a typical millennial/generation Z – I’m just using my own example to illustrate the issue that I myself and some people that I know have faced.

The situation is changing; luckily, more and more companies reconsider their approach to hiring younger employees. However, I wouldn’t have raised this issue in the first place, had I not encountered this problem in my career.

Last year I was aiming for a job within an international sports organisation. I applied for a position through a common job board and soon received an invitation for an interview. I passed the interview stage, completed a test assignment and then got through to the third round.

Supposedly, only two candidates got through to the final interview. It was held over Skype. All of a sudden my interviewers tell me something like this:

“We see by your CV that you have recently finished your studies. So we assume you haven’t had much time to gain experience working in the media. Are we right?”

The question “What the hell are you talking about” almost slipped from my mouth. I had been working in professional media along with my studies since I was 18, and I don’t mind explaining how it worked out. But – on the third round interview? Hadn’t they seen my CV? Hadn’t they clicked on the link to my showreel with me presenting on TV, in two languages? Links to the articles I’ve published?

Yes, I may have less experience in marketing, which was important for the position – but they had seen my test assignment, I had spent two days completing it, they liked it and they accepted me for the final round. Why question my whole level of proficiency in the industry when you’ve seen my career history supported by evidence?

I did not get the job. Nor did they bother notifying me about the result, despite having only two candidates to inform – one “You’re hired” and one “We’re sorry” to send out. I felt irritated, as I really wanted the job, and I actually put my heart into that test assignment. I would have appreciated them at least thanking me for my time. Now I know it’s for the best I didn’t get to wok for company that treats people like that. I know the issue with them was not just about age, but more about working ethics in general, but I have a feeling that they might have treated me differently, had they seen me as a real professional.

Quite a lot of my friends have gained sufficient professional experience by their early twenties, and still I hear some of them complain they are not seen as seriously as they should, particularly those involved in managerial positions.

What’s your view on the subject? Do you feel that younger professionals still come across age discrimination? Does it only apply to certain specialisations or companies?

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