Job seekers of all ages face challenges when writing a resume. For older workers, however, resume writing is especially difficult due to unique job-hunting issues that arise from age discrimination.
As a seasoned job seeker looking to re-enter the workforce or take the next step in your career, you need to know a few tips to stand out from the younger competition and land an interview. Here are two sample resumes for older workers and five resume writing tips to help you get a great job.
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Sample resumes for older workers
To give you an idea of what hiring managers expect from you, here are two examples of resumes for older workers to look at before you write your resume:
1. Example resume with 25 years of experience
The example below shows you how to fit 25+ years of relevant work history on your resume (tap or move your mouse over the sample, and then click the arrow at the bottom to view both pages of the resume):Resume for Older Workers with 25 Years of Experience
Remove outdated skills like “Excellent handwriting” or “Windows Vista expertise” from your resume because they make your qualifications appear dated.
2. Sample resume for older workers returning to work
Are you re-entering the workforce after deciding to return from retirement? Here’s an example of a resume written for a senior returning to work after a career break:
Be prepared to explain your resume gap in interviews. Talk about relevant skills and life lessons you learned during your career break.
7 resume tips for older job seekers
Use the following tips to write a resume that sets you apart from younger job seekers and minimizes your risk of experiencing age discrimination:
1. Choose the best type of resume for showcasing your relevant experience
Hiring managers focus on your skills and experience to determine if you’re a good fit for the position. So choose a resume format that showcases your most relevant qualifications.
For example, a chronological resume is ideal if you have no career gaps because it clearly shows your career progression. But a functional resume emphasizes your skills and education, so it’s best if you have minimal relevant experience in your target industry.
2. Make your resume the right length
How long your resume should be depends on your experience. If you have:
3. Use modern resume formatting
Here are some tips to follow to ensure your resume formatting is up-to-date:
- Write your resume using the latest version of Microsoft Word using default resume margins and spacing — submitting a resume created with an outdated version of Word can reveal your age too early in the hiring process
- Don’t insert double spaces after periods (doing so became obsolete with monospaced fonts and manual typewriters in the 1970s)
- Pick a modern resume font, such as Cambria or Arial
4. Don’t list your graduation dates
Including your graduation dates on your resume highlights your age, which could be an issue if the hiring manager is younger than you are. So when you list your diploma or degree on your resume, remove the dates, like this:
LASELL UNIVERSITY, Newton, MA
Master of Science in Communication (concentration: public relations), June 1994
Honors: cum laude (GPA: 3.6/4.0)
LASELL UNIVERSITY, Newton, MA
Master of Science in Communication (concentration: public relations)
Honors: cum laude (GPA: 3.6/4.0)
However, if you recently completed a certification, master’s or Ph.D., include your graduation year in your resume to show that your education and training are current.
5. Highlight your tech skills
We live in an increasingly technological world, and most jobs require at least basic computer skills. Show your technical expertise on your resume so hiring managers don’t assume that you’re an older worker who hasn’t kept your technical skills up-to-date.
Here are some examples of skills to list on your resume that show your target employer you’re experienced:
- Names of the latest software or equipment in your industry
- Microsoft Office (Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel)
- Cloud collaboration tools (Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Dropbox)
- Remote communication platforms (Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams)
Provide data and examples of how you used your technical skills to create value for your employer. Giving hard numbers and examples helps convince the hiring manager you’re qualified for the job.
If you lack hard skills required for your target job, ensure your resume includes examples of how you’ve used your soft skills to quickly learn similar information in the past.
6. Don’t list every job you’ve ever had
As an older worker, you’ve probably held many different jobs. But don’t include all your jobs on your resume.
Usually, you should only include the last decade of relevant experience to make your resume concise and emphasize your current skills and value.
However, if your work history that best matches the requirements for the job you want is more than 10 years old, add it to your resume.
Using a minimalist resume format allows you to list only noteworthy job experience, without you running the risk of your resume looking inadequate and unqualified.
Not sure what your resume should look like? The best way to learn is by taking inspiration from resume examples written by other candidates in your industry.
7. Use a modern resume template
Submitting your resume in a modern resume template is a great way to show hiring managers that you’ll fit well in a modern workplace. Here’s how to upgrade your resume with a template:
- Find a resume template that matches your qualifications and target industry
- Download the template (you’ll likely find either Microsoft Word or Google Docs resume templates)
- Open the file and replace the templated information with your resume accomplishments and skills
- Save the file with an appropriate resume file name so the hiring manager can easily find it when they save it on their computer (for example, “Your-Name-Resume-Job-Title”)
When you pick a resume template, ensure you can get a matching cover letter template to help the hiring manager keep your application organized and separate from other applicants’ documents.