6 Resume Secrets for Job Seekers, From Hiring Managers

It’s no secret a mature candidate’s years of job experience can often be undervalued by prospective employers looking for “youth and enthusiasm” (and perhaps the lower wage scale that often accompanies it).

For an older job seeker, this dilemma can be exacerbated by an ineffective resume. And in an ever-challenging job market, your resume will either be the tool to get you in the door or ensure your efforts fall by the wayside.

Countless applicants – young and older alike – offer resumes that are best categorized as tired, lifeless, or boring, says jobreferences.com. An uninspired resume is a definite showstopper in the eyes of corporate reviewers, who are frequently inundated with an excess of employment candidates.

How, then, does a seasoned professional (perhaps 40-60 years of age) craft a resume which stands out from the pack, reflecting their experience, energy and attributes to best advantage?

Here are 6 Resume Tips from recently surveyed hiring managers:

  1. Trim your employment history to reflect your past 10-15 years.  If you have hard-hitting employment credentials beyond this period, summarize them in a section at the end of your employment history.  But it is important to not indicate or include specific dates for these earlier credentials.
  1. Avoid leaving dates of education off your resume unless you have a strong strategic reason to do so.  Leaving dates off may suggest to the employer that you are hiding your age and are older than your work experience might indicate.  A rule of thumb is to omit college-graduation or other educational dates that are over 20 years old.
  1. Ensure that your resume showcases valuable age-related attributes most likely to be valued by prospective employers – e.g., your judgment and decision-making abilities, your range of expertise, your reliability and dependable work ethic, and your commitment to corporate goals.
  1. Highlight achievements that reflect strong technical or professional expertise, a high energy level, and the ability to be flexible and adaptable.
  1. Employment accomplishments need to be concise, but detailed.  Employers want to know as specifically as possible what you will “bring to the table.”  One benefit of (your) being a seasoned professional is you will be more likely to bring a more specific level of expertise to any new assignment.  However, be sure to articulate your accomplishments as concisely as possible – you want to keep your overall resume length to two pages if possible. Less is more.
  1. Leave off “references upon request” – this is a “given.”  Instead, have your reference list available (using the same font/format as your resume) upon employer request.  Similarly, omit reference to hobbies or other ancillary items.

Age discrimination can be a serious obstacle for older workers to overcome.  Use your resume as the tool to get your foot in the employment door for that initial interview.  Then, convey – with a sense of confidence and self-assurance – the value you offer that is likely unmatched by your younger competitors in the job market arena.  Your experience is your strength; take advantage, and both you and your employer will reap the benefits.

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About Allison

Allison & Taylor Inc. and its principals have been in the business of checking references for individuals and corporate accounts since 1984. We have successfully built our brand and corporate recognition and have been recommended by industry specialists such as The New York Times award-winning author Martin Yate (“Knock ‘Em Dead Résumés”). Numerous articles have been published about our business in newspapers and magazines including The Christian Science Monitor, The Wall Street Journal, Glamour Magazine, New Woman, Worth, National Business Employment Weekly, The Detroit News, and The St. Petersburg Times.