Peter, if we’re cutting to the chase, the answer to your questions are yes (kind of) and no, respectively. Here’s why…
I know we’ve discussed age at length here and here. But this question touches on something we’ve yet to discuss: How specific should you be on your application when it comes to giving away your age? Well, you don’t need to put your birthdate on your resume or cover letter, whether you’re 16 or 60. So don’t worry about that. And if you’re afraid employers will automatically dismiss you (even though they shouldn’t) because of the dates of your graduation, then leave those dates off. What matters is that you graduated with a degree, not when. There’s absolutely nothing dishonest or deceitful about that.
Still, we don’t advocate lying, and we’re not for burying information either. See, you still should put dates by your employment history, especially the most recent ones (aka ones that you had over the last 10 years, possibly longer depending on your field). Leaving those dates off will seem very suspicious. Employers will assume you’re hiding something. So an employer can always do some quick math if they really want to figure out your age. Plus, if you get an interview, they’re going to see you face-to-face and, well, unless you’re really good with makeup, they’re going to know you’re not 19. So there’s no point in lying or going through extensive means to hide your age. And do you really want to work for a place that fears mature workers and experience?
Perhaps most importantly, you shouldn’t be ashamed of your age. If an employer is going to assume you can’t perform the tasks or doesn’t want someone with a little grey hair in the office, that’s not going to be a good place for you to work. (Forget how illegal it would be for them to openly dismiss you on those grounds.) Avoiding a few specific dates where possible might not be a bad idea if you’re afraid a college graduation date of 1973 will intimidate someone before they even look at your qualifications. But don’t lie and don’t forget that you probably have gained experience that a newcomer hasn’t. Be yourself and be proud of what you’ve done with your career.