While all job-seekers can experience obstacles in their efforts to find a perfect job, older workers often face unique challenges. For a variety of reasons, many hiring managers often give preference to younger workers. Usually, that preference is the result of either conscious or unconscious bias. To counter that bias, older workers need to know how to craft a resume that maximizes their odds of landing an interview.
Our team of career experts has come up with these 7 resume tips for older workers that can help them land more interviews.
How strategic resumes help older workers
First, though, it’s helpful to understand why these resume tips for older job seekers are even necessary. It all comes down to perception. Older applications often have resumes that are filled with years of valuable experience. They have skills crafted over many decades of employment. On the surface, those would seem to be positive benefits that would excite most employers. Sadly, that’s not always the case.
In fact, many employers see that lengthy history as a sign that the older worker is probably outdated. They may assume that you can’t possibly be familiar with current technology, trends, and strategies. Worse, they may even believe that they cannot afford to hire you.
After all, your lengthy experience and impressive skill set should command a high salary, right? Basically, these hiring managers will assume that your age and experience with outdated technology represent too great a risk.
The best way for you to avoid that rejection is to properly update your resume. The following resume tips for older workers will help showcase your skills and qualifications. At the same time, it can enable you to more effectively remove the age question from your resume.
7 resume tips for older job seekers
1. Omit dates from your resume
One of the best resume tips for older applicants is to avoid using dates in your education section. Its difficult to work around your age if your college graduation date is there in black-and-white. Just skip the dates altogether.
2. Only include the last 10 to 15 years of experience
Another of our top resume tips for older workers involves relevancy. Instead of including every bit of work experience you’ve had, stick to the relevant jobs.
Your best option is to only include experience within the last ten to fifteen years.
You can add a line at the end of your experience section, noting that additional experience is available upon request.
3. Avoid listing outdated skills
Many older job seekers include outdated and irrelevant skills on a resume that can easily give away your age. Include only skills, programs and certifications that are relevant or required for the position you're targeting. "Typing," "Microsoft Word," and "Google" don't belong on your resume.
4. Highlight your skills
No list of top resume tips for older workers would be complete without mentioning skills. Many older workers are reluctant to boast, but your resume should highlight your qualifications.
Skills are an important part of that process. Just be sure to give a place of prominence to your technology skills.
Also, remember that most companies today use an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) to automatically screen your resume. These systems automatically screen your resume to see if you're a good match for the position. An average of 75% of candidates are rejected by ATS and many time the candidate is qualified but the resume isn't optimized.
Make sure that you use a standard resume format so that the ATS could easily read the resume. You should also include keywords (hard skills) that are relevant to the position.
Example of a good skills section:
We also wrote a good post here on skills to include on your resume.
5. Include a LinkedIn URL
The inclusion of a LinkedIn URL also has a place in any list of resume tips for older workers. By now you should have your own LinkedIn profile page. Be sure to include a link to that page in your resume’s contact information.
6. Use an updated word processor
Since many companies want to see electronic copies of resume, your word processing software deserves some attention as well. If you’re using an outdated version of Word, upgrade. And if you’re using any other word processing software, consider switching to Word. It’s pretty much the gold standard for resumes these days.
7. Customize each resume
Finally, don’t rely on just one base resume. When it comes to resume tips for older workers, this one is critical. Every resume that you submit must be tailored to perfectly match the desired position. That means using keywords from the job posting and narrowing down experience and skills to ensure that they are relevant. The days of just using the same resume for every application are a thing of the past.
Resume example for an older job seeker:
Notice how the additional experience is listed below without dates--strategic!
The good news is that these resume tips for older workers can help you avoid bias and give you a better shot at landing an interview. That’s the best way to ensure yourself a fair chance to convince that employer that you’re the right candidate for the job.
The ZipJob team is made up of professional writers and career experts located across the USA and Canada with backgrounds in HR, recruiting, career coaching, job placement, and professional writing.