Chances are, if you are showing some signs of aging, so is your resume. Those fine wrinkle lines around your eyes are no welcome signs of experience on your resume.
Many companies look at older applicants as liabilities instead of commodities. With young, enthusiastic applicants showing their passion regularly, the wise and experienced, calm and respectable adult may seem like second choice. Why? Experienced workers usually want higher pay than newbies, and are less likely to want to learn new ways of doing things. Age discrimination exists.
From the employer’s perspective, experienced workers have grown accustomed to performing a task one way; they may be unwilling to change their habits for the new position. Compare this to the new, young applicant: newly educated, and adaptable. These workers are chameleons; they are pliable. Companies can mold them into the type of employee they are looking to hire.
Before throwing in the towel and giving up on the idea of finding a new job, know that hope is not lost. Typically, older applicants present themselves in all the wrong ways. Your experience and knowledge are strengths, but you must learn to present them in a way that blasts this idea into the minds of employers.
Just because you might come with some fine lines and gray hairs, does not mean your resume needs to. You must have a fresh, competitive resume. You need a resume that will highlight your strengths and compete with the young applicants’ resumes. Get Resume Botox™!
Your Resume is Your Brochure
You need to sell an employer on the idea of buying you as an employee. After all, they see hiring a new employee as a transaction. The employer is buying something new: YOU! Don’t appear worn and tired as a used car that’s been passed down through the family. Package yourself like you are coming right off the showroom floor.
Your resume must be an effective advertising piece!
Show You are Current
One of the biggest fears an employer has in hiring an older applicant is that they will not be current in industry trends, or they’ll be stuck in their ways and refuse to adapt.
Show employers you are up to date with industry trends. Use industry and technology jargon that is current.
Example: If you learned to type on a typewriter, the skill is important (not the typewriter). Instead of focusing on how you learned to type (which dates you immediately), focus on the fact that you can type. How can that help you now? You can type in Microsoft Word.
This shows you did not stop learning once you knew how to use one program. You realize that very few people use typewriters anymore; you also realize that the skill is still relevant to people’s needs.
Structure Your Resume so Employers Keep Reading
You have more to say than a candidate new to the job market. Your resume must be interesting to read. You can presume employers will not rummage through a boring resume of line after line of text. Address their needs quickly; keep their attention for the entirety of the resume. Use the keywords matching the skills and experience in the advertisement for the position.
Make every statement on your resume worth reading. Your resume should be full of useful information. Presented information in a clear, concise format (i.e. Don’t write a dissertation on your accomplishments, write them in bullet points).
Make Your Objective Match the Employer’s Goal
Directly below your contact information and above your work experience, is the job seekers’ first opportunity to impress an employer. This is where you will find the objective. An objective clearly states the applicant’s goal in employment.
The objective should focus on the employer and their needs. More than likely, each job you apply for will have different needs that should be met. Because of this, your objective should be different for each job for which you apply.
Remember that your resume is a marketing tool. Advertisers target their audience and attempt to meet their needs through the advertisement. Target your customer: the employer. This will make your resume much stronger than if you left your objective vague or generic. Leave that mistake to the rookies.
List Your Experience; NOT All of Your Experiences
Do not list your work experience chronologically. Think of all of the job titles you have had over your lifetime. Listing all of your titles (whether using chronological order or reverse chronology) only adds more emphasis to your age by showing your long work history.
To include experience without focusing on the dates of the experience, write in the functional resume format. This format takes the focus off the ‘old’ dates, and focuses on the skills you have acquired from the jobs you’ve held.
A good general rule for chronological resume writing is to only list job titles that you’ve had over the last 10-15 years. If you have previous experience, that you’d like to add, consider writing that in as “Prior relevant Experience” or “Additional Experience.”
Seven Mistakes that Date You
Adding any of this information to your resume can date you:
• Age (duh!)
• Ancient resume format and fonts
• No email address
• Dates of Jobs
• Time on the job
• Degree completion date
Due to employment laws, anyone conducting a job search is not allowed to ask for your age (unless the information is vital to the job). Most young job seekers know that this information is not required and never put the information on their resumes.
Action Words Create Enthusiasm and Energy
Employers thrive off the enthusiasm of the young applicant. They know that young applicants bring energy to a job that older applicants may not. While this generalization is not an absolute (on either side), the bias still stands.
One simple way to create the same sort of enthusiasm and energy for employers is by using action words through out your resume. Remove boring, repetitive language like, “responsibilities included,” and replace these statements with the action or skill your responsibility provoked. See the Resume Dictionary power words for help.
Once you’ve beautified your resume, be sure that you use the same suggestions in interviewing. Think young, adaptable, and enthusiastic. Using the tips provided here will get you through the door, but if you use the tips wisely, they’ll also get you that position you’ve been wanting.
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