Finding a new job can be a challenging experience at any age. But as you get older, you’ll find yourself confronted with newer obstacles. Most companies today seek employees who are younger, more energetic and in tune with the new technologies. As people over age 40 run the risk of becoming outdated. Of course, there is the advantage of experience, but that in itself may not be enough. So if you’re a job seeker in your 40s, it’s important to be smart and know what aspects of your career to highlight and what to play down.
The first thing you need to know is that a conventional resume — the kind you’ve been writing all these years — isn’t going to work for you anymore. With almost two decades of experience, you’re likely to already have a list of achievements to your name. Given you can’t share a resume that is over four pages long, you need to pare down information that is too old and highlight relevant experience. Also, simplify aspects of your CV that sound too arcane. Bear in mind that your CV also needs a contemporary design to look fresh and create a good impression.
Some of the other pointers to keep in mind while crafting a resume are:
1. Keep it short
Don’t let your resume run longer than two pages. You’ve probably had a long professional innings, handled several responsibilities and achieved a good deal in your career. But a hiring manager won’t have time to read the entire playlist. Share your career’s greatest hits and trim the document to mention only those aspects that are relevant to the job. Make an exception in case you believe something is really important, listing it as additional experience.
2. Play down the years
List your accomplishments instead of the years spent gathering experience. Number the accomplishments, so that your prospective employer has a clear sense of what to expect from you in case you are hired. But don’t overwhelm people with experience: soften designations, avoid excessive industry jargon and keep away from sounding unnecessarily technical. Make sure you don’t create the impression that you’re overqualified.
3. Avoid dates
As far as possible, try not to include dates. This will give away your age and may prejudice your prospective employers against you. Avoid mentioning things like date of birth or year of graduation since this may affect your chances of getting called for an interview even if you make the initial cut for the job.
4. Have a forward facing perspective
Ensure your resume doesn’t sound like an ode to the past. Limit your accomplishments to the last 10 years since anything beyond that is largely irrelevant in the current context. Keep it forward facing, perhaps including a line on what you want to achieve and what you can bring to the table for your employers. Try to sound youthful and eager to learn. The overall tone of your resume is going to play a decisive role in helping the hiring manager decide whether he/she should call you for the interview or not.
5. Stay updated
There could be a possibility that your hiring manager may be younger than you, so make an effort to communicate with him/her in a language he/she understands. Read up about current industry buzzwords and incorporate them in your CV. More importantly, steer clear of words that were in use when you joined the industry but have become anachronisms now. Make sure your CV looks contemporary. Research prevailing resume trends and choose one that suits your purpose.
In today’s youth-oriented work environment, older job seekers must recognize the importance of creating an age-friendly resume, which is in sync with the present times. While targeting senior positions, the key lies in listing just enough experience to indicate an extensive career background, but not too much information that can make you appear outdated. If you need more help, try using a professional service for expert advice on how to get it done.