How to Write an Effective Resume if You're Over 40
Writing the perfect resume is never easy, and this task can be even more of a challenge for older workers. If you are over 40 and searching for a job, these resume tips for older workers can help you get your foot in the door. We've rounded up insider secrets and advice from resume experts, HR professionals, career coaches and other experts from across the country.
Resume Tips for Older Workers
- Focus Your Resume. "Focus your search on one or two position types. As an experienced job seeker who has amassed loads of great experience, the tendency is to overwhelm the resume, hiring managers and recruiters with too many skills and experience in attempting to be competitive. Include only those items directly related to the one or two position types you are pursuing. It makes you more competitive when you focus." - Dorothy Tannahill-Moran, career coach at nextchapternewlife.com and mbahighway.com
- Incorporate Industry Buzzwords. "Look at transitional buzzwords if you're looking for a role in a different industry. They offer better search results when recruiters are looking." - Mark Frietch, author, speaker, and social media expert
- Leave Graduation Dates Off Your Resume. "Employers can assume they know your approximate date of birth from your graduation date. If they believe you're over 40, many won't even consider you for an interview. In addition, you should only include up to 15 years of employment." - Anthony Quinones, The Repackaging Expert, midlife transition coach
- Highlight Key Skills in a Separate Section. "Given their tenure in the workplace, job seekers over 40 are more likely to offer a lot of specific accomplishments. Rather than using terms such as 'seasoned' or 'veteran' and the like, these candidates should show their breadth of experience by placing key accomplishments in a highlights section on the first page of their resume, and by using them as focus points in phone and in-person interviews." - Laurie DeSalvo, President of L.D. Writing & Resumes and Certified Professional Resume Writer
- Incorporate QR Codes. "Persons over 40 should place a QR code on their resumes, especially if the position they are applying for has nothing to do with IT. It will send the message to the employer that they are current and comfortable with technology." - Bruce A. Hurwitz, executive recruiter, career counselor, advisor at the multimedia resume portal Purzue.com
- Emphasize Your Contributions. "On their resume, 40+ workers must show how they can increase production/revenue and/or decrease costs." - Curtis Kessinger, founder of Success Minded Coaching and author of The Ultimate You - Achieving Greatness
- Target Employers Friendly to Mature Workers. "I always tell people over the age of 40 to seek out companies that have a reputation for being particularly friendly to mature workers. Many companies consider a more mature workforce to be a competitive advantage. Employees over the age of 40 bring more experience, more professionalism, and more maturity to any position than their younger counterparts. One way for 40+ job-seekers to get a leg up on their younger competition is to look for an employer that considers more life experience an asset rather than a detriment." - Remi Killeen-Weber, HR project manager for Alpine Access
- Be Honest and Factual. "In today's job market you are far more likely to get caught in a lie, which will likely mean your elimination as a candidate. Emphasize where you have been a doer vs. just a leader. Doers are getting jobs in today's market where leaders are often seen as not able to do." - David Lewis is the CEO of Operations Inc., a human resources outsourcing and consulting firm in Stamford, Ct.
- Quantify Your Accomplishments. "It's essential to be able to position yourself as a solution to an organization's problems, as a resource to help them achieve their goals. Write down all the key skills and traits you have that qualify for the job you want, and then write out specific incidences and examples that prove you have these skills and traits. Use percentages, dollar amounts, and quantities wherever possible, as they're tangible and persuasive. Also, practice out loud telling your stories so that you can communicate them effectively. The brain thinks in terms of pictures, therefore paint positive pictures that create positive images in the mind of the interviewer." - Ronald Kaufman is a seminar leader, executive coach, and author of Anatomy of Success
- Emphasize What You've Accomplished. "Stop focusing on the tasks you've performed in your job and stress what you've accomplished. Employers hire and pay for results." - Rick Dacri, president of HR consulting firm Dacri & Associates, LLC and the author of Uncomplicating Management
- Stay Current. "On your resume, emphasize your experience with current trends in your industry to show that your knowledge and skills are up to date." - Kelly Donovan, CPRW, Career Communications Strategist & Certified Professional Resume Writer