Do I advertise the fact that I’m 60 in my new CV? After all it’s pertinent to my job search, it’s the reason why I’m looking for a new purpose. It’s also why I think it’s time to slowly scale down my business and seek out new opportunities.
On the one hand, I think it’s right to be upfront and honest and surely forty years work experience is a good thing. On the other I don’t want to be perceived as a worn out, has-been with skills no longer relevant to the digital age. I am sure ageism exists in the jobs world and I need to combat it.
I found this article by Monster contributor Dawn Papandrea really useful and I will take her advice. Here are some of the key points:
By structuring your resume strategically, you can combat ageism in your job search and showcase the qualifications that are most relevant to the job you’re seeking, says Kim Isaacs, executive resume writer and resume expert.
For instance, think twice before leading with “decades of experience” on your resume. That’s a career red flag that might signal to employers that you’re outdated or overqualified, when, in fact, you’re exactly who they’re looking to hire.
“Older workers tend to have a boatload of experience—often in many different functional areas,” Isaacs says, “so the challenge is to whittle the resume content down to what employers would find most valuable.”
“The career summary section is where an older worker can shine— your accomplishments are usually strong and there’s a level of expertise that younger workers haven’t reached yet,” says Isaacs.
Keep in mind that you don’t want to sound out of touch. Ditch industry jargon that might not be obvious to recruiters who may very well be younger than you. Also, it’s OK to say “experienced,” but don’t say “over 25 years of experience.”
Tweak as you go
Take the time to tailor your resume each time you apply for a job, says Susan Weinstock, vice president of financial resilience at AARP. “It’s time-consuming but worth it,” she says. “For example, make sure you include keywords from the job description in your resume.”
This will help you stand out to recruiters and hiring managers who are looking for a very specific skill set, not to mention that it will make your resume more discoverable by search engines and software.
Go back, but not too far
The question most people have is how far back should they go? Employers are most interested in what you’ve done recently, says Isaacs, but there’s nothing wrong with sharing older career milestones.
“Focus on accomplishments from the last 15 years or so, but still provide brief highlights of earlier positions,” she recommends. Tip: Group older positions together in a brief Early Career section, and omit the dates.
Hide your age
Although you should never lie on your resume, you don’t have to make it glaringly obvious. The way around that is to just list your schools and degrees.
“Remove graduation or school dates, since some employment algorithms will screen out employees over a certain age—and they can do that by looking at graduation dates,” says Weinstock.
Address the tech elephant in the room
Just because you’re over 50 doesn’t mean you lack technology skills, but that stereotype does exist, and you have to overcome it—especially for positions that require some digital savvy. “In your resume and cover letter, talk about the technology you use and know well that is relevant to your field,” says Weinstock.
Isaacs adds that including recent training completed, conferences attended, and involvement in professional organisations can be strong indicators that you’ve continued to learn and develop new skills. Even better? “See if your tech skills can be woven into an accomplishment to show how the technology was used to achieve a desirable result,” says Isaacs.
Also, go ahead and list your technology prowess in the skills section of your resume, but steer clear of mentioning anything that’s outdated. Say “Word 2016,” not “Word 2002,” for instance.