Although age discrimination is discouraged by state and federal regulations, anyone with a long career knows how difficult it is for a 55-year-old to impress a recruiter or hiring manager who is 30 years younger. Your resume should be written to get you into the door for an interview, where your enthusiasm, dedication and skill will impress your future employers.
Successful resumes for older workers share these characteristics:
- Your resume demonstrates your ability to keep up with current trends and requirements in your industry. Whether through education, volunteer work or accomplishments in your most recent job, you need to demonstrate that your skills are still relevant. Your resume should also use the language favored today, not the language of days past. For example, no one today expects a fax number or cares about your expertise in WordPerfect DOS.
- Your resume focuses on the position you want now. In a long career, you may have held many different positions with little relevance to the position you are applying for. Spend more space describing jobs with the most relevance. Read job postings carefully so that you can target your resume to the job, company and industry. When describing your current positions, emphasize the accomplishments and skills that relate most strongly to the posted requirements for the job you want.
- Your resume is bolstered by your professional profile on LinkedIn or similar online site. Today’s job applicants are expected to be conversant with computer technology and with Microsoft® Office. As an older worker especially, you need to demonstrate basic computer skills, including familiarity with professional social media sites.
- Your resume is formatted for applicant tracking systems (ATS). Computerized applicant tracking was unknown just a decade ago, but has now been accepted by nearly every company as an efficient way to pinpoint qualified job applicants. Resumes that are not formatted for ATS will never reach the eye of a hiring manager or recruiter.
One of my responsibilities as a professional resume writer is to make sure that your resume reflects the expectations of today’s hiring managers and recruiters, in both content and format.