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5 Resume Tips for Older Job Seekers

If you’re looking to re-enter the workforce or switch career paths, you may find that job hunting has changed. Newspaper ads are out, and online applications are in.

But one thing is still the same—you need a solid resume. How can you make yours stand out? Start with these 5 tips.

1. Follow the preferred style and format

  • Don’t go over two pages, unless you’re an educator or unique professional who requires more
  • Use a standard word application, such as Microsoft Word
  • Use a traditional, easy-to-read font, such as Arial, and keep text in a uniform size of 10 or 11
  • Bold your name, section headings, and employers’ names
  • Avoid multiple fonts and excessive bolding, italics, and underlining

2. Stand out with keywords

Many employers scan resumes electronically to find “keywords” that are specific to the job. Use words and phrases from the ad or position description, including job title, qualifications, knowledge, and skills. For example, if the ad is for a Project Manager, include that title in your objective. If it asks for a person who is detailed-oriented or has 10+ years of managerial experience, include these qualifications under your skills.

3. Use active language

Active verbs and a clear description of your accomplishments will bring vitality and strength to your resume. For example, “I led my team to exceed sales goals by 10%” is stronger than “Sales goals were exceeded by 10%.” Use current language, especially when it comes to technology. Instead of listing “computer skills,” name the specific programs you use, such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Acrobat.

4. Include the right information

  • Heading: Put your full name at the top center in bold and slightly larger. Include your home address, phone number (mobile is best for quick response), and email address.
  • Objective: State your career objective using the profession and level of responsibility. Examples include: “Senior Computer Specialist,” “Grocery Department Manager,” or “General Accountant.” If you’re returning to work after an absence or want to change careers, state that here.
  • Skills, capabilities, and qualifications: Using bullets, highlight the 10-12 talents that make you a great candidate. Cite your specific knowledge and credentials, technical capabilities, personal attributes, and industry-specific attributes.
  • Work history: In reverse chronological order, list each employer over the past 10-20 years. Include the employer name, description of enterprise, city/state, calendar years of employment, most senior job title achieved, accountabilities, and primary activities and achievements. Work older than 20 years ago can be irrelevant, as many industries are ever-changing. However, you can consolidate other previous experience into a brief paragraph.
  • Education, training, certifications, and affiliations: Employers check formal education during background inquiries, so be completely accurate here. Include your name of school, location, and course of study. You don’t need to put a graduation date unless it has been within the past 20 years. If you did not complete a degree program, note either “Attended” or “Completed Coursework.” Also list any relevant training, certifications, and occupational affiliations.

5. Know what not to include

The following items are not appropriate on a resume:

  • Personal or family information
  • Social and recreational activities, unless they are directly related to the job
  • References, which come much later in the process
  • Photos, colors, or graphic art

Remember, your resume is the single most important piece of your application because it lands you the interview! Have a friend or colleague review yours before you hit send.

Have a question or another tip to share? Please comment below!

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About RetirementJobs.com Staff Writers

RetirementJobs.com is a free service for job seekers 50+ that is dedicated to identifying companies most-suited to older workers and matching them with active, productive, conscientious, mature adults seeking a job or project that matches their lifestyle.

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