Resume Tips for Older Job Seekers

Tips and Advice for Age Proofing Your Resume

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Age isn't always an advantage when you're job searching, especially in a competitive job market. Hiring managers can view older workers as more expensive to hire, as having outdated experience or too much experience, or as not being current with today's technology and workplaces. 

One way to overcome the perception that your age is an issue is to age proof and carefully edit your resume. Your resume isn’t your CV so it doesn’t need to include everything you’ve ever done.

Limiting what you include on your resume, from a chronological perspective, can help job seekers avoid the stigma of being considered "too old" by a prospective employer.

Also, showing that you're up to speed with the latest technology and skills needed for your profession, will help maximize your chances of getting selected for an interview. The following resume writing tips for older job seekers will help market your candidacy and showcase your skills to employers.

Resume Tips for Older Job Seekers

Limit Your Related Experience. Limit the related experience (related to the job you are applying for) you include on your resume to 10 - 15 years, leaving older jobs off your resume entirely. Alternatively, you can include the older jobs in another section of your resume, but don’t list the dates when you worked.

Drop Your Other Experience. You want to keep your resume experience relevant for the job you’re hoping to land, and unrelated experience is probably just not necessary.

Leave all that experience off your resume or list it without dates in an “Other Experience” or “More Experience” category.

Don't Include Dates. Don't include high school and college graduation dates or dates for any other courses you took, or professional development classes that were in the past. If you have a college degree, don't list your high school graduation date on your resume.

Be Careful About Years. Don't list the length of experience you have in your resume objective, if you use one. For example, it's not advantageous to say you have 20 or 30 years of experience in anything. It’ll flag you as older, and your resume may just get tossed out.

Target Your Resume. Take the time to write a targeted resume that’s customized so that it specifically highlights the experience you have that’s relevant to the specific job opening you’re applying for. The same targeted resume won’t work for every job, and you’ll need a different one for each job opening.

Consider a Functional or Combination Resume. If you’re currently using a chronological resume, which lists your experience in date order, it may be time to switch to a different format that doesn’t focus on the years. Consider using a functional resume, which focuses on your skills and experience and lists your accomplishments at the top of your resume. Alternatively, you could use a combination resume, which features both skills and your work history, just don’t go back farther than 10 - 15 years.

Highlight Your Skills. All your years of experience probably means you’ve built up an impressive skill set. Shine a light on the skills that are most valuable and that show you’re comfortable with contemporary technology.

Promote the fact that you're up-to-date with current technology by including the latest programs and apps you know how to use and leaving off out-of-date technology.

Show You're Connected. Include a link to your LinkedIn profile on your resume. It will show hiring managers you're engaged in current means of communicating and networking. Depending on your usage, you may want to list your social media handles as well, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram – but only if they’re up to professional scrutiny.

Polish Up Your Resume. Presentation matters. Make sure your resume is polished and well presented. You don't want your resume to "look" old-fashioned. Hire a resume writer or browse the various resume sites to find the latest templates that will give your resume a fresh face.

Be Prepared to Email Your Resume. Keep in mind that most resumes are emailed or uploaded to a company website or job site to apply for jobs.

Email a copy of your resume to yourself, to be sure your formatting doesn't get lost during the transmission (sending your resume as a PDF file is probably best). Review these email etiquette guidelines to be sure you're following the right protocol for emailing your resume.