Last week, I wrote on the importance of a multigenerational workplace, and how age and experience are a good team. However, there can be some truth still in the fact that not all companies acknowledge this, and so a more mature job seeker may find themselves struggling to land a job. It really all depends on the type of industry, but in general, there is a mindset out there that younger means more cutting-edge and plugged in to recent tech ideas. So, here are some resume’ tips for those who have a few more years of experience under their belt.
A key point is to be sure your resume is age-neutral. In other words, limit the amount of information so as not to give away your amount of years in the work force. “Limiting what you include on your resume, from a chronological perspective, can help job seekers avoid the stigma of being considered "too old" by a prospective employer,” says Alison Doyle at About.com. She suggests limiting the amount of work history to the past 15 years on your resume’.
Another idea is to format your resume so that the focus is on skills, not dates. List the prior jobs and skills, but without necessarily pinning a date on them. Focus on the skills and achievements themselves, and not when they were accomplished. Of course, if you had a skills/achievement many, many years ago, unless you were actively still using those skills, having them on your resume’ is of little use. If you have been recently using them, then recent history will reflect that.
Also, claiming to have a wealth of experience may not be the path to take either. Saying you have 30-years of experience in an area will tag you with a more mature age right off the top. A good rule of thumb is to highlight the skills, but, instead of using dates and lengths of time, simply refer to yourself as having “extensive” or “expert” knowledge in an area, or other such descriptive phrases.
It is always an important tip to know as much as you can about the qualifications and skill set requirements of the position being applied for. Using that information to tweak your resume’ to focus it more on what they need will also be a benefit. This can also assist you in determining what information you may not necessarily need to include, like older skills.
Also, be sure you are up-to-speed on more modern skills, and highlight those in particular. As I have mentioned in past articles, use a little of your unemployment time to brush-up on or get refresher/updated training on skills. You’d be surprised how much you might learn in a relatively short amount of time (like maybe 20 hours or so), and be able to list some of that new knowledge on your resume’. Make sure you have up-to-date social medial access (just having a Facebook page may not be enough in this Twitter, Nexxt, Klout, Google+ and LinkedIn world). Stretch your wings if you haven’t already, and get involved in some of the more modern social media hang-outs, and be as active as you can. Socialize with others in your field; you can learn a lot from them.
If you can display that you have top-notch, up-to-date skills, you can provide enough competition to the younger crowd to potentially land the position. If you just sit back and rely on your past lengthy experience in the field, you may not be able to land the position.
Job searching is tough in today’s market, so you need to leverage all advantages you can. Knowing what a company needs, and writing a custom resume’ with its focus aimed at that position, highlighting the skills you have that specifically relate, without “time stamping” your resume’ should go a long way in getting your foot in the door, at which time you can further elaborate on your extensive experience.
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