You are an older professional, who would like to re-enter the workforce? Or maybe you are trying to make a career change? Either way, you are probably facing one big issue.
Although by law, employers are forbidden from taking age into account when it comes to job positions, age discrimination is still a common issue. There are a couple of steps that you can take to prevent your age from being an obstacle.
In this article, we are going to explore the following topics:
- Why is a resume important for older workers?
- How to get the best out of your resume for older workers?
If you feel rusty about the basics of your resume, check out how to make your resume stand out. But if you are ready to build a kickass resume as an older worker, stick around.
Why is a resume important for older workers?
A resume specifically tailored to showcase the experience of older workers is important because no matter what job you apply for, you will probably be competing with lots of other candidates of all ages.
But you have a long work history and skills, crafted and perfected through lots of years of experience. That should be more than enough to stand out, right?
Well, often that’s not the case. Furthermore, frequently your lengthy experience and skills have a negative effect. That’s because most recruiters are looking for compact, one-page resumes that focus on impact and productivity, not long history of employment.
It is common for potential employers to perceive your long work experience as a sign that you would not be familiar with the new technologies, trends, and strategies. Another possible case is for them to think that they could not afford a candidate with so much experience, as there would be high salary expectations.
There are lots of other scenarios as well. That’s the reason why you need to craft your resume in a new way. A well-written resume for older workers can demonstrate all your valuable experience and skills, but also minimizes any risks of age discrimination.
If you do it right, you greatly improve your chances of getting that interview.
How to get the best out of your resume for older workers?
Now that you understand the importance of your resume for older workers, it is time to get to work. There are quite a few important aspects of your resume that would need some attention.
We got you covered. Let’s go through them, one by one.
Choose the right resume format
When hiring managers see your resume, they would mainly focus on your work experience and skills.
So make sure you choose a resume format that showcases your most relevant qualifications.
There are three main resume formats for you to pick from.
Reverse chronological resume format
The Reverse Chronological Resume Format is the most common out there. That’s because it is suitable for pretty much every job position.
This format is mostly career-oriented – it lists your work history in order, as the most recent position would be at the top.
It is the ideal format for people with lots of work experience, relevant to the job position they are applying for. If you feel like this is the Resume Format for you, go read our in-depth article about it – Reverse Chronological Resume Format.
If not, we have two more for you.
Functional resume format
Your second alternative is pretty much the opposite of the Reverse Chronological Resume Format. The Functional Resume Format is also known as the Skill-Based Resume Format.
And yes, you guessed correctly, it focuses mainly on your skills. It is the perfect choice for you if you are looking for your first job or career change, or if you are trying to steer away the employer’s focus from a gap in your employment history.
The great thing about the functional resume format is that it groups your skills in categories and presents them in a great and easy-to-read format. If we’ve got what you need with this Resume Format, learn more about it here – Functional Resume Format.
If that’s not what you need either, we’ve got one last option for you.
Hybrid resume format
If neither the Reverse Chronological Resume Format, nor the Functional Resume Format feel quite right, we’ve got what you need. The Hybrid Resume Format is the perfect combination of the two formats listed above.
It takes all the best features from both formats. It includes both Reverse Chronological Work History, and a highly detailed Skills Section.
It’s mostly used for job positions that require expertise in a variety of fields, and you want to show that you are the right person for the job.
So which format should you choose?
Well, it is entirely up to you. A reverse chronological resume would be best fit if you are trying to show your career progression.
But that is not always what you would want. If you have employment gaps, or you are transitioning into a new field of work, a functional resume might feel like a better fit.
And there is always the hybrid resume that you can use to combine the best features of the other two resume formats. No matter what resume format you choose, your resume should absolutely have:
- Professional summary
- Work experience section
- Skills section
- Education section
Don’t use outdated formatting
Your resume formatting can reveal your age too early in the hiring process. That’s why you should modernize your resume formatting.
There are just a few old habits that you need to ditch, and you should be good to go.
First, make sure you skip the Microsoft Word and use a 21-century resume builder that will take care of the formatting, design, and any potential typos. By doing that, you can ensure that your margins and spacing would be just right by default.
Second, make sure you don’t use an outdated font. Times New Roman used to be widely used, but there has been a long time since then. To make your resume look modern, use a font like Calibri, Cambria, or Verdana.
Last, but not least, don’t insert double-spacing after periods. Doing that became obsolete in the 1970s with monospaced fonts.
Update your contact information
Your contact information should always be up-to-date. And, as an older worker, you wouldn’t want your contact information to give out your age.
Make sure you exclude any outdated technologies like fax or a landline number. What you need instead is a cell phone number. And make sure you don’t specify it is a cell.
But in modern times, the initial communication with the hiring manager will likely not be over the phone. It is widely preferred to start communication via email.
For that purpose, you should also choose an up-to-date technology. Your old email address in Yahoo or AOL might give out your age. Make sure you sign up for a free Gmail account. It is not that new, but it is pretty much email standard.
Last, but not least, you would want to show right from the start that you are really up-to-date with technology. Join LinkedIn––a social media specifically tailored for professionals. So if you don’t have an account yet, make sure you create one, update it with all your relevant information and include it in your contact information.
Write a professional summary
Your professional summary is your chance to sell yourself to your potential employer. And that is exactly what you would want to do.
The professional summary is a 3-4 sentence statement that presents your experience, skills and career goals. It should present you in the best possible light and keep the hiring manager intrigued all the way through.
To do so without the danger of age discrimination, you need to carefully choose your words. If you have 25 years of experience, you would want to present that as “over 10 years of experience”. It’s still truthful, but you avoid the chance of age discrimination.
Skip your graduation dates
No matter how well you hide your age on your resume, it is all in vain if you list your graduation date in your education section.
What you need there is just your degrees and the institution you got them from, no dates. Make sure you list your highest degree first, and stick to associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.
However, if you recently completed a new degree in your education, you can list the date, as it shows your education is current.
Highlight your tech skills
In modern times, almost every job out there requires some technical skills. So it is crucial to show that your tech skillset is not outdated.
Scan the job listing for any technologies that your potential employer is looking for, and list all that you are familiar with. Make sure you also provide some examples to prove that you really know what that technology is all about.
Another great thing you can do here is show your potential employer that you are comfortable learning new technologies. Employers love employees that are constantly improving themselves.
Don't list your entire work history
When creating your resume for older workers, you wouldn’t want to list every job you have ever had. Your work experience section should be limited to the last 10 to 15 years.
Make sure whatever you list from that time is relevant to the job position you are applying for. However, if you find that your relevant experience is beyond these 15 years, there is a way around it.
In that case, you can include that work experience, but make sure you don’t list any dates. Also, if you go for older work experience on your resume, make sure you are really up-to-date with all technologies and trends in the field.
Looking for a job, or making a career change later in life is a great way to start fresh. The most important things you have to remember are:
- Show that you’re up to date with everything that’s going on in today’s professional work (make a LinkedIn, a Gmail account, do a nice-looking resume with a resume builder).
- Skip on any dates that don’t add more value to your resume (year of graduation).
- Focus on impact and relevancy rather than more job positions.
And voila! You’re ready to tackle the next challenge of your life!
Make one that's truly you.