Professional Resume Tips for Older Workers
12 expert resume tips for older job-seekers
When updating their resumes, older job-seekers encounter two major challenges. First, they need to draw attention away from their age to avoid discrimination during their job search. And second, they should demonstrate they are as tech-savvy, energetic and open to new ways of doing things as younger employees.
Hence, all 50+ professionals who want to receive a job fast should reflect both points in their resumes. In this case, you need to downplay the age issue while focusing on what you can deliver if hired. The age is an asset, so today one of our online resume writers will give helpful advice. You’ll learn as follows:
✓ A step-by-step resume writing guide for older workers
✓ The most popular resume mistakes to avoid, and
✓ Job search tips for professionals in their 50s and 60s.
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12 resume tips for older employees
Regardless of your industry and age, focus on the results and accomplishments. Career experts recommend that older job-seekers use these tips in resume writing:
1. Hide your graduation date
One of the most popular tricks when it comes to downplaying your age is removing the graduation date. Any other information about your resume stays unchanged. There’s an exception from this rule, though – if you went back to school five years ago or so to get an MBA or PhD, keep the date.
2. Limit work experience to the past 15 years
It’s great that you have over 20 years of experience under your belt. However, listing each and every position along with the description causes two resume issues. Firstly, it gives the employer clear evidence of your age. And secondly, if you’ve changed jobs every 2-3 years, your resume might take much longer than the recommended two pages.
The solution? Mention experience you’ve had in the past 15 years, or 5-6 positions if you’ve changed them frequently.
3. Group your early experience under a separate section
Let’s assume that your old experience is too important to be left out. For instance, you stood at the origins of a well-known tech or ecommerce company, or you want to highlight the progression from a cashier to CFO in 15 years. How do you address this issue?
Create a separate section called ‘Early career’ and list earlier jobs there. You needn’t give job descriptions – only include company names and job titles. You might want to omit dates as well. Thus, you’ll give a broader picture of your experience without taking much resume space.
4. Keep it to 2 pages
This point is closely connected with the previous one. Employers expect to receive a maximum 2-page resume from an experienced job-seeker. If you prioritize the information well, two pages more than suffice to show off your work history, educational background, and accomplishments.
Prioritization means that you need to include only the most relevant and recent information from your career history. Omit your university awards and accomplishments. Don’t list what your job as a bank teller entailed if you now apply for the position of senior risk analyst. And check out the word to use in resume – incorporating them will help you make a stronger impression on a hiring manager.
5. Write a powerful summary instead of an objective
Objectives are out of date. Vague statements like ‘To obtain a position where my strong account management and customer service skills can be utilized’ adds no value for an employer. In terms of fierce competition, employers want to know what you can bring to the table if hired.
Since you are likely to have more relevant experience than the younger applicants, career summary is where your qualifications can shine. Mention your most notable projects, accomplishments supported by figures, an important certification or rare combination of skills. A summary works as an elevator pitch, helping you capture the employer’s attention from the first lines.
6. Include a modern email address
Are you still using that AOL email address you set up 12 years ago? Or maybe, you don’t use email at all? Both facts signal your age more than a graduation date does. It’s high time that you created a professional address on Gmail or Hotmail. It should consist of your first and last name, for example, ‘Sofieelliott@gmail.com’.
7. List a mobile number
Another issue subtly indicating your age is mentioning a home phone number. Younger employees typically use a cell number. Needless to say that if you still use a fax number, it’s time to remove it.
When listing contact details, be sure to double-check the spelling.
8. Add a link to your LinkedIn profile
If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile or don’t use it, consider completing it and taking full advantage in your job search. Complete all necessary sections, write an eye-catching summary, and attach samples of your work if possible. LinkedIn allows recruiters to find you if your qualifications meet what they’re looking for, so you have a good chance of getting hired without any effort.
Moreover, a recruiter will look up for you online anyway, so attach a link to your pro social media. Your LinkedIn profile shows that you’re internet- and tech-savvy.
9. Demonstrate technology skills
Mastering industry-related technical skills and software is one of the key work success tips. One of the reasons that companies beware of hiring older employees is they afraid that the candidate isn’t good with technology. So, dispel their doubts.
List the industry software such as FreshBooks, BigTime, etc., standard programs (MS Office, Google Suite), and operating systems. Beware of mentioning the Internet as technology or proficiency with social media unless you are a digital marketer. Also, remove the programs which are not used today. Say, Windows 95 is not a good idea.
10. Make it visually attractive
Twenty years ago, a golden standard was black text on white paper. Now your resume should look attractive and capture the reader’s attention with its design. Work on the looks of your resume as hard as you do on the content.
Use fonts without tails, for example, Calibri, Arial, or Garamond. They are easy on the eye and are used in the majority of documents. Describe your accomplishments using bullet points for better readability. Leave some white space so the reader could look through them and find what is of interest to them. And finally, add some color to emphasize crucial points or give a good structure.
11. Demonstrate your active lifestyle in the Hobbies section
Mentioning hobbies is not mandatory, and is usually up to the candidate. Yet, in the case with older applicants, career consultants recommend using it strategically. If you enjoy any type of physical activity such as yoga or jogging in the evenings or go in for serious sports such as skiing or running marathons, makes sure that your resume lists them. It can minimize potential age bias, as such hobbies imply that you keep healthy and stay in shape. Hence, you’ll make an energetic and hardworking employee.
12. Achievements instead of job duties
Focusing on job duties and tasks is acceptable for entry-level professionals who haven’t gained the skills to deliver tangible results so far. But when considering an experienced professional for the job, they want to see results and figures.
Whether you’ve built a top-performing sales team, minimized costs, improved processes or negotiated profitable contracts, give the recruiter details, numbers and percentages. You might list the accomplishments under each job title or create a separate Accomplishments section to show off your most notable results. Also, note that each job description should be 5-6 bullets in length, so be selective about what to include.
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Essential job hunting tips
Building a good resume is only half the battle. To speed up the job search process, follow these tips:
✓ Know where to look. While Indeed.com and Glassdoor.com can still be helpful, focus on the resources where companies specifically hire experienced job-seekers. Use Workforce50.com, Yourencore.com and similar platforms.
✓ Negotiate the compensation. Sometimes the employers vary of hiring older workers because they claim for higher salary than the less experienced applicants. The solution? During the interview, offer the employer to accept a lower starting salary and get a bigger bonus if you do a good job. This compromise is likely to be appealing for most companies.
✓ Don’t show you’re overqualified. A resume’s goal is to show off your skills and accomplishments, that’s true. But if you can be perceived as overqualified for the position, a recruiter might reject your application at all. In this case, remove the experience and achievements that show your qualifications going beyond what the job requires.
✓ Consider taking freelance or contractor position. If you struggle to find a full-time position, consider other options. Seek the contractor role or sign up for a freelance website to offer your services. These options will support you financially and keep your skills current until you find a full-time employment.
✓ Network actively. Use the power of LinkedIn as suggested above and reach out to your network. Tell everyone that you’re seeking new opportunities or ask to recommend you for a position. Networking gives you much more chances for getting hired as many jobs are filled through networking and are not posted online.
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