Whether you lost a job due to COVID-19, want some post-retirement income for travel, or have your sights set on an encore career, job hunting past 50 can be tricky. Knowing how to age-proof your resume is essential. It’s also important to have your digital game on. So, Growing Bolder asked certified, award-winning resume writer Erin Kennedy for her advice.
“Every so often, a job-seeker will tell me they think their age had something to do with the reason they weren’t called in for the interview,” Kennedy said. “During the initial consultation, my clients are usually so dynamic that I have a hard time believing that. And then I look at their resume, and I can see exactly why.”
What can you do to showcase your skillset and experiences on your resume and keep it from looking outdated? Kennedy shared her secret sauce.
Top 7 tips to age-proof your resume
- Minimize Dates. If you have experience dating before the 1990s, don’t list it. Stay focused on the last 10-15 years. Use an Early Career Summary section to shorten the list of jobs from years ago, keeping the focus on recent achievements. You don’t lose information this way, you just summarize it and leave out the dates.
- Modernize the Format. Remove non-relevant skills, and update your resume with the latest formatting. Instead of relying on an outdated template, create a format that demonstrates you know how today’s resumes are supposed to look. If you aren’t sure, a quick Google search for examples provides multiple ideas. You can show off your personality and creativity with a little advanced formatting. If time is of the essence, hire a resume writer.
- Accomplishments. Lead with your accomplishments. If you’ve got them, flaunt them! This is the time to show off what you’ve done. Numbers and percentages showing what you achieved are helpful. If they were earlier in your career, you can still add them to your Early Career Summary as a bullet item — especially if they are relevant to the role you’re seeking now.
- Beat the bots Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are used by large and small companies. Make sure the keywords you use are the ones required for the job. Not sure what those are? Take a look at the job description. It’s a treasure trove of keywords. This is where customizing comes into play. Every time you apply for a role, your resume needs to be customized with the keywords from the job description.
- Technology. Stay on top of current technology. If you are still using an older phone, consider getting a smart phone. Many job listings include productivity software. If you’re not familiar with Asana, Microsoft Teams, Slack or other software programs or apps listed in a position description, head to YouTube to watch short video tutorials to become familiar with the latest tech.
- Demonstrate your technical knowledge. If you have technical knowledge, show it. Employers don’t want to spend time and money training new staff, so show you are a step ahead with the latest training — and make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date with that information as well.
- Connect with hiring managers. Reach out through your LinkedIn account. Human interaction and developing relationships are critical and help move you up in the search. Focus on the future, not the past, and tell them how your talents and experience enable you to handle their pain points — areas of their company’s greatest needs. This is where your experience and knowledge will pay off.
For more tips from Erin Kennedy, check out Professional Resume Services.