The unemployment rate for older adults has and continues to rise. For older employment seekers, there are several résumé mistakes to avoid. The problem is that many older job seekers do not know the easy-to-fix mistakes that will land them the interview, and ultimately, the job.
As an older adult, you already know that once you are unemployed it is increasingly difficult to land a new job. Chances are your résumé makes you look old and outdated. Sure, you are confident you can do the job, but only if you could get the interview.
Well, I am going to help you get the gray out of your résumé and that starts with learning the 10 résumé mistakes to avoid as an older job seeker.
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10 Résumé Mistakes to Avoid for Older Workers
1. Be Succinct
The first résumé mistake to avoid is having a résumé too long.
A résumé is a succinct and formal summary of your employment history. The keyword here is “succinct.” While you have had a wonderfully long career that spans 20 years or more, your résumé is not an autobiography.
On average, a recruiter will spend six to seven seconds skimming your résumé according to Indeed.com. Notice that I said, skimming and not reading your résumé.
Because you have 20+ years of experience you will probably need a two-page résumé. There are cases where a three-page résumé may be appropriate (executive level). But for the majority of career seekers, you will not need to go past two pages nor should you.
2. Tailor Your Résumé to the Position
The second résumé mistake to avoid is not tailoring your résumé to the job posting.
This tip is important to getting your résumé into the hands of the recruiter. Reading and understanding the job posting is the key to writing an effective résumé. The job posting is the hiring organization’s way of telling you they have a problem, what their problem is, and what they are looking for in a solution to the problem (the applicant).
- Be sure to read and understand the job posting.
- Make sure your résumé acknowledges your understanding of the problem.
- Specify how you and only you are the answer to their problem through your skills, experience, credentials, and quantifiable accomplishments that support your claim.
3. Format and Style
The next résumé mistake to avoid is not having proper format and style.
Various résumé formats work differently for different industries and different positions. Not everyone has the same employment goals or experiences, so there is not a one size fits all résumé format and style out there.
It may have been some time since you have written your last résumé, and formats have changed. You need to have a more modern-looking résumé. No need to reinvent the wheel; check out the résumé software product below and let it do the work for you.
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4. Do Not Date Yourself
Here is a résumé mistake you must avoid, giving away your age on the résumé. Unfortunately, age discrimination is alive and kicking.
One sure way to give away your age is to include dates on your résumé. If at all possible, leave dates off and let your accomplishments speak for themselves.
- When writing your résumé summary, do not give away your age by writing “over 20 years of experience” There are exceptions to this such as with an Executive résumé, but for A Professional résumé, 15+ years will do the trick.
- A résumé should only go back as far as 10 – 15 years with related work experience. Because you will provide the years worked for each position you held, only go back 15 years at the most. Again, there are some exceptions, but generally, this rule will be followed by most employment seekers.
- Do not include your high school education on your résumé.
- Do not put the date you completed your education on your résumé.
5. Outdated Skills, Terminology, and Technology
A definite résumé mistake you must avoid is listing old and outdated skills, terminology, and technology.
If you really want to age-proof your résumé, you must clean out your closet of outdated skills, terminology, and technology and let go of the bell-bottom jean language. When your résumé has terminology like “typewriter”, or “Blackberry”, it’s a dead giveaway for your age.
It is important that you show you are up to date on the latest industry trends, skills, technology, and terminology. Review your résumé and remove or replace all outdated skills, terminology, and technology.
The proper terminology is extremely important as it relates to keywords and the ATS (Applicant Tracking System). The ATS can make or break your chances of getting your résumé into the hands of a real live person/decision-maker.
6. Update Your Software Skills
Because we live in such a fast-paced, technological world, hiring organizations want to know that you can keep up. Technology is no longer only for the young techies, but technology touches every part of the business. If you are not up to date with the latest and greatest software for your industry, I strongly suggest you do so.
7. Drop the Résumé Objective
Another résumé mistake you must avoid is including an objective.
Do not include a résumé objective as this too will date you. Instead, create a powerful résumé summary or profile that speaks to your value and what you will bring to the hiring organization.
Note: A résumé objective speaks to your wants and what you are looking for in your career/position.
FACT: The hiring company is not interested in what you want at this point in the process.
Note: The résumé summary speaks to the value you will bring to the hiring organization.
FACT: It is all about the hiring organization and articulating how you can solve their problem when it comes to the résumé.
A huge résumé mistake you must avoid is having an older email provider.
This may not seem like a big deal, but your email can send up a big red flag about your age. If you are still using email providers such as Hotmail, NetZero, or AOL you may be really showing your age. This is an easy and quick fix because email addresses are free and only take seconds to create.
9. References Upon Request
Adding the phrase “References Upon Request” at the bottom of the résumé is no longer required or expected. You want your résumé to only include the value that you will bring to the hiring organization and you will need all the résumé real estate you can grab to do this. Besides, it is already expected that you will provide references upon request. Don’t state the obvious.
10. Not Being LinkedIn
The final résumé mistake you must avoid is not being on LinkedIn.
While not having your LinkedIn URL on your résumé is not necessarily a sign of your age, recruiters will want to go to your LinkedIn page to review it. If you have a LinkedIn account (and you should) add the URL to your résumé at the top alongside your name, phone number, and the city and state where you live.
Follow these 10 steps and your résumé will look as if it was dunked into the fountain of youth. I have no doubt that you can do the job. We didn’t get to live this long without wisdom and a vast amount of valuable experience to offer.
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