The unemployment rate for men over the age of 40 has and continues to rise. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that men between the ages of 45 to 54 have an unemployment rate just above 5% and for men 55 and older the unemployment rate is higher at over 7%.
The problem as many of you already know is 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 Chances are your résumé makes you look old and outdated.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 know you can do the job and you are confident that if you get the interview you will get the job.
Well, I am going to help you put some Grecian Formula into your résumé and get the gray out.
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1. Be Succinct
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 seconds skimming your résumé. 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
This next tip is so 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, their way of telling you exactly what the problem is, and their way of telling you what they are looking for as a solution to their problem (the candidate).
Be sure to read and understand the job posting and make sure your résumé acknowledges your understanding of the problem and how you and only you are the answer to their problem with specific skills, experience, credentials, and quantifiable accomplishments that support your claim.
3. Format and Style
Certain 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.
If it has been some time since you have written your last résumé, formats have changed. You need to have a more modern looking résumé. No need to make this process harder than it already is; check out the two résumé software products below as they will help make your life easier.
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- The step-by-step guide makes it easy to add sections to your résumé that reflect your unique experience and skills.
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4. Do Not Date Yourself
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…” Instead, try this, “Over 15 years of experience…”
- A résumé should only go back as far as 10 – 15 years with related work experience. Because you will have to provide the time frame for each position you held, only go back 15 years at the most. 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 college on your résumé unless it has been within the last 5 years.
5. Outdated Terminology and Skills
If you really want to age-proof your résumé, you must clean out your closet of outdated terminology and skills and let go of the bell-bottom language. When your résumé has terminology like typewriter, Blackberry, or fax, it’s a dead giveaway for your age.
It is important that you show you are up to date on the latest industry trends, technology, and terminology. Review your résumé and remove or replace outdated terminology and skills.
The proper terminology is extremely important as it relates to keywords and the ATS (Applicant Tracking System). If you are not familiar with the ATS, no worries, I will be releasing an article on the ATS soon. 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 employers 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 required software for your industry, I strongly suggest you do so.
7. Drop the Résumé 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.
A résumé objective speaks to your wants and what you are looking for in your career/position.
FACT: The hiring company does not care.
The résumé summary speaks to the value you will bring to the hiring organization.
FACT: It is all about the hiring organization and solving their problem when it comes to the résumé.
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
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 with 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, but a whole lot of faith 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.
Comment and let me know what challenges you are facing with your résumé.
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Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey. (2020). U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cpseea10.htm