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 Hiring managers can view older workers as more expensive to hire, as having outdated experience or too much experience, or as not being current with today's technology and workplaces - even though it is illegal to discriminate based on age.
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.
Advice for Age Proofing Your Resume
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 without highlighting your age.
Choose the Best Type of Resume
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 more than 10 or 15 years).
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 to 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 a category labeled “Other Experience” or “Additional Experience.”
Don't Include Education / Training 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.
The best way to show that you are a seasoned professional is to say that you have “10+ years’ experience” in your field. This isn’t a lie, and it allows you to capitalize upon your value as an employee with significant experience.
Show How You're Qualified
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.
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. This 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 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 look.
Be Ready to Email or Upload Your Resume
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 the formatting doesn't get lost during transmission (sending your resume as a PDF is probably best). Review these email etiquette guidelines to be sure you're following the right protocol for emailing your resume.
Download a Resume Template
Download the resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word) or see below for a text version to get started on creating your own resume.
Resume Example (Text Version)
123 Old Growth Road
Mt. Vernon, WA 98273
Producing consistent YOY growth through strategic goal-setting and sales floor management.
Charismatic and focused in onboarding, developing, and coaching highly productive retail sales teams. Skillfully train sales associates in winning customer engagement, merchandising, and inventory control methods.
Analytical and cost-conscious in establishing pricing strategies, preventing shrink, and championing effective customer retention programs. Lead by example to ensure provision of best-in-class customer service.
HOMEWORKS CENTRAL, Mt. Vernon, Washington
SALES MANAGER (February 2014 – Present)
Meticulously perform scope of retail management responsibilities including team building, merchandising, inventory control, scheduling, and sales training and development for established home improvement store.
- Redesigned store plan-o-grams that improved cross-sales by 72% and time-in-store by 81%.
- Implemented staff recognition and incentive programs that heightened employee retention to 95%.
- Introduced first-ever succession planning process that ensured seamless transition of sales associates to positions of increased authority as older personnel retired, preventing the need to hire from outside.
CARS R US, Ferndale, Washington
SALES MANAGER (November 2006 – January 2014)
Trained and mentored ~35 Sales Executives in customer service and sales negotiation / closing skills. Forecasted monthly sales expenses, conveyed sales goals, and designed incentive programs.
- Pioneered dealership’s launch of online sales arm, increasing lead percentage by 63%.
- Increased overall market share by more than 15% YOY throughout tenure.
- Promoted to management from original role as Sales Representative (June 2002 – November 2004).
~ Additional experience includes roles as a Sales Executive for Retro Auto (Yakima, Washington) and as a Sales Representative for Home Hardware Sales (Yakima, Washington). ~
EDUCATION & CREDENTIALS
EASTERN WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, Cheney, Washington
Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration (Emphasis: Marketing)
Information Technology Skills: Microsoft Office Suite • POS systems • SalesForce