Today’s topic is near and dear to my heart because I lived it, quite painfully a few years ago.
In my late forties, I was suddenly laid off from a high paying, senior sales leadership role with zero prospects for a new one.
I discovered the hard way that my experience as laid out in my extensive 3 page resume wasn’t inspiring recruiters and hiring managers to call me in for interviews.
In my first 6 months of job search, I got exactly 1 interview for a role that just wasn’t a great fit for what I was looking for at the time.
Eventually, I mastered what I needed to do in order to get multiple job offers but one of the very first thing that was required was some serious updates to my resume.
During those first 6 months of search, I seemed to get overlooked for dozens of positions that I was pursuing.
I started to wonder if I was being overlooked due to my age.
Is this happening to you?
In today’s job market and culture at large, youth seems to be praised and valued over many other attributes.
And the job market can appear to be no different.
Many “older” job seekers get discouraged when none of their efforts seem to be working but they often fail to realize that one of the main issues could be this:
YOUR RESUME CAN MAKE YOU “LOOK” OLD!
There are obvious and not so obvious ways that this can happen and if you’re someone in your late forties or fifties or beyond, it’s important to understand these and ensure that your resume is AGELESS.
HOW TO CRAFT AN AGELESS RESUME
1- Focus your resume on the last 15-20 years
For the most part, any experience beyond 15-20 years is not going to be relevant to the majority of employers and positions.
Most likely, the work you’ve done in the last 15-20 years will provide the value that an employer is looking for.
By going beyond this, you risk diminishing the power of your resume and, it opens the door to being eliminated on the basis of being perceived as “too seasoned” or “over-qualified”.
2- Use “action” verbs in your bullets
This strategy not only helps you ensure your resume is full of on the job accomplishments, but also creates energy in your resume.
Youth is typically associated with energy and using action verbs can transform your resume in a way that creates that youthfulness on paper.
3- Omit key dates
The biggest one you can omit is your graduation date from college or any other schooling. This will be a huge give-away as to how old you might be.
Omission in this case is not bending the truth or lying. It’s simply being strategic about what is crucial information in your resume and streamlining and focusing on what is RELEVANT.
You may worry that once they meet you in an interview setting that they will find out how old you are.
The reality is that there is a lot you can do in an interview situation to combat age bias as well.
The first step is to make sure you’re not simply eliminated in that first round of resume reviews simply because your resume is not making you look current.
4- Showcase a growth and learning mindset
One of the biases some hiring managers have is the idea that “older” or more seasoned workers are done learning new things. This can create a situation in the workplace where an employee is not able to keep up with change or new advances in technology which can severely impact their performance.
It’s therefore important to combat this by highlighting any progression or advances you’ve made in your career whether it’s through promotions or additional learning.
Make sure to highlight any recent courses or trainings you’ve been in.
You’ll have the opportunity to expand on this idea much more in an interview setting but it’s also important to find ways to convey this in your resume.
There you have it! An ageless resume allows anyone of a “certain age” to ensure they get the opportunity to showcase their experience in interviews that lead to job offers.