With all the buzz surrounding Millennials and Gen Z in the workplace, it may sometimes seem as though all companies wish to hire is young, up-and-coming talent.
Meanwhile, the number of workers over 40 participating in the workforce has only increased. For a number of reasons, older workers are staying in their jobs longer or rejoining the workforce.
Looking at the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ projection below, it’s clear that a much larger share of workers 55+ will make up the labor force in coming years!
Yet even with an increasingly larger involvement, almost half of older workers haven’t applied for a job in over a decade. In a survey, AARP also found that about 40% of participants over 50 hadn’t updated their resume in 10 years. This percentage only rose with age.
So for those brushing up their skills to apply for a job in the first time in years, you’re certainly not alone! Creating a resume for older workers just takes a bit more know-how of what to highlight and include.
Why is a Resume for People Over 40 Different? 👨🦳👩🦳
Unfortunately, age discrimination is nothing new to the 21st century. That’s why the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission passed the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) over 50 years ago. This act helps combat age discrimination of those over 40, both in the workplace and in the hiring process.
Yet, despite these legal protections, AARP found that among adults over 45, over 60% stated observing or experiencing age discrimination at work. This can include anything from negative remarks to not getting hired or promoted for a job.
Because of the persisting possibility of age discrimination in hiring, both intentional and non-intentional, a carefully drafted resume is key. Here are a few job hunting tips to create a resume for older workers to exhibit your strengths in the best light.
How to Craft a Great Resume for Older Workers
1. Apply to companies that embrace diversity and inclusion, especially older workers. 📝
Of course, it makes most sense to start your job search with companies that outwardly value diversity. By narrowing your search down to some of the best companies for diversity and inclusion, hiring managers will know to value your differences as strengths.
2. Include only relevant experience. ☝️
After a few decades of work experience under your belt, you’ve gathered quite a bit to list on your resume. However tempting it is to include all of it, be mindful of what does make the cut. A resume for older workers shouldn’t list every past experience. Rather, it should focus on the most important and relevant experience to the specific job you apply to.
3. Don’t limit your experience to a certain number of years. 📅
How many years back should you go on a resume? Common career advice states that you should only include the past 10 to 15 years of experience. However, other professionals suggest that it’s relevancy that matters, not the time. Refer to tip #2 above!
4. Leave graduation dates off education, unless you’ve received a degree more recently. 🎓
It’s fairly easy to guess someone’s age based off their graduation dates. Explicitly hinting at your age may open the door to age discrimination. Instead, leave those years off your degree mentions. The exception is any higher degrees you may have received more recently, such as a Master’s or PhD.
5. Prove your experience, rather than talk about it. 🕵️
While it may seem like common sense to highlight the number of years of experience, it’s more beneficial to explain the how. For example, instead of describing yourself as a “veteran” of an industry, explain what you achieved during your tenure that makes you a veteran. Years alone aren’t enough to prove you were an expert in the field. Include solid numbers and measurable achievements like how many people you led or goals you reached.
6. Highlight the unique advantage that your years of experience have given you. ✨
Similar to the tip above, a resume for older workers is unique in that you do have years of experience to show. Having knowledge from over several years may help you better understand the evolution of an industry or industries. Likewise, this edge may have helped you develop other unique skills that a younger worker lacks like leadership or expertise.
7. Show comfort level with recent technologies. 📱
Demonstrate that you’re up-to-date with the current technology and professional tools. This can be as simple as including a link to your LinkedIn profile in your application material. Additionally, you can even create a digital portfolio of work on a personal website or familiarize yourself with common tools to include on your resume. Proficiency in Microsoft Office and CRMS, for example, are commonly expected skills for office jobs.
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