Is it me, or am I being overlooked... because of my age???
Several years ago in my mid-forties, I found myself suddenly laid off with zero new job prospects. This was well before I became a career and job search expert.
I updated my resume and started applying to any job that looked “interesting”.
And I was shocked when absolutely nothing happened. Crickets. No calls for interviews.
What was going on, what was missing?
I had amazing experience, having worked my way up the corporate ladder and built up some impressive credentials.
Then, why was no one calling me in for interviews????
I see this happen with my clients and students before they start working with me.
Many are in a similar position as I was back then and experiencing the same anxiety-producing silence after pursuing role after role with no results.
Is this happening to you?
If so, after a while, you might start wondering if it’s something you’re doing or not doing, or if it’s something else altogether.
You may start to wonder if you’re being discriminated against because of your age
Which brings us to what I need to share with you around all of this.
The truth about the "seasoned" or "experienced professional" resume
Many experienced job seekers believe that they need to have ALL of their work history on their resume.
When you’re in midlife, that can mean going back to the late eighties as the starting point for your resume.
Here’s the truth:
Employers don’t care about the work you did back then and that’s a great thing for most of us 🙂
What they do care about and ask themselves as they scan resumes is this:
Can this candidate help me solve these problems I'm having right now?
The reason why there’s a job opening in the first place is because the company has some issue that they’re trying to solve with the role.
These “issues” of course can take the form of opportunities as well. Maybe they need to bring in more sales, more customers (sales & marketing roles). Maybe they need to generate new products or services. Maybe they need to make things more efficient.
Whatever the role is, it’s solving for “something”.
And when your resume showcases that you solve that “something” in a really impactful way, they’ll want to interview you!
How do you fix your midlife resume?
You let go of old style resume rules and focus on new way resume do’s.
1- Key dates:
When you’re in midlife, there’s no need to put a date next to your education. That sparks many people to “do the math” and figure out your age. If the reader has any kind of age related bias, your resume just ended up in the “no” pile. I know it’s not right, but it’s up to you to be strategic and counter this with what you include and don’t put on your resume.
Don’t go back 25+ years. It makes your resume too long and too dense and makes you look “old on paper”. Instead, focus your experience on the last 15-20 years.
1- Use action verbs:
Doing this creates energy in your resume and is a powerful strategy to make you come across as youthful as well as making sure your resume is full of on the job accomplishments.
2- Show growth:
Like it or not, some hiring managers have a bias in thinking that “older” or more seasoned workers are done learning new things. They then worry that they may not be able to keep up with change or new advances in technology which can severely impact their performance.
It’s important to combat this potential bias through 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.
This applies to hard and soft skills equally.