Job candidates come in all ages but with an increasing amount of individuals searching the job market, it can be tough to stand out from the crowd.
Older job seekers have plenty of obstacles to overcome. From hiring managers thinking a candidate might be too expensive to hire to thinking their experience is outdated, there is a lot that older job seekers have to combat to stay fresh in the job market.
While it’s illegal, older job seekers deal with the realities of age bias during the job search. To avoid getting frustrated and using this as an excuse, it’s best to keep your eye on the prize and de-emphasisze your age when crafting a resume. To market yourself in the current job market, here are some resume writing tips for older job seekers.
Emphasize relevant skills: First and foremost, highlight transferable skills. Marci Alboher, author of “The Encore Career Handbook: How to Make a Living and a Difference in the Second Half of Life says it’s important to emphasize your ability to transition seamlessly into a new position. “If you’ve done any retraining or recent education, put that prominently, and really highlight it because it shows you’re refreshing your skills … A shiny new credential is the great equalizer if you feel like in other ways you may be disadvantaged by your age,” Alboher says.
Trim down dates: To avoid cluttering your resume with decades of experience, trim work history to the most relevant positions from the past decade. Kathy Keshemberg, a nationally certified résumé writer, says try including a “previous work experience” section to include just companies and job titles. “You really don’t want to list jobs that are back in the 1980s or 1990s so much,” Keshemberg says.
Hiring managers are interested in recent accomplishments that match what they are looking for. Highlighting relevant, present experiences will show you’re in the know and up-to-date on technology, desirable skills, etc. One thing to keep in mind is, do keep dates visible. Excluding dates completely screams “older job seeker” and can be taken as someone who doesn’t know how to properly write a resume.
Customize your resume: This is always the way to go but for older job seekers this can be key to landing a job. Specifically highlighting your experience that is relevant to the position you’re applying for will not only show you’re a great candidate but let hiring managers know you’re up on the times.
Connect socially: LinkedIn is a must for job seekers. Create a attention grabbing profile and include the link on your resume. This will help hiring managers navigate to your profile quickly but also show you’re engaged professionally and networking with others.
Avoid older phrases: Using dated phrases like “references available upon request,“can deter hiring managers from reaching out. Nancy Collamer, author of “Second Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit from Your Passions During Semi-Retirement warns to be very careful with choice of words. “As an example of this, I started my career way back when in HR. And at the time, I was director of personnel. And if I put that on a résumé now, it would completely date me … People talk in terms of ‘talent acquisition.’ Pay attention to your word usage,” says Collamer.
Other dated phrases include:
- “responsible for”
- “duties included”
- “managed day-to-day operations”
- “out-of-the-box thinker“
Tailor language to the company’s job posting. If there is a fun play on words, sprinkle some into your resume to match the tone.