If you are an older job seeker, there is some good news when it comes to finding work - a new report has found that candidates ages 55 and older are now seeing the strongest employment gains of any age group.
According to the analysis of government data by the consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, older job seekers now account for nearly 70% of people who found work since January 2010.
However, as an older candidate, you still may feel as if you have a disadvantage as you try to re-enter today's challenging job market. There are a number of ways you can update your job search in order for you to remain a competitive, relevant applicant.
Human resources specialist Roberta Chinsky Matuson told the Christian Science Monitor that there are 4 factors that older job seekers should consider: Does your resume
look weathered? Has it grown to three or four pages over time? Is your first job after high school graduation still listed? Are you still displaying the date you graduated from college?
- To date or not to date
Matuson said that most older candidates should use their own judgement when it comes to including graduation dates on their resumes
. He said that many career specialists actually differ on the subject, since including certain dates can work to an older job seeker's advantage in certain circumstances.
Whichever you choose, you should revamp your resume so that your education is listed last on the page, which will help you highlight your current and relevant skills rather than your age.
- The length debate
Again, many career specialists debate the issue of how long a resume should be. While many hiring managers agree a resume should not be longer than a single page, others say you can add a second page if you need to show you have years of the right kind of experience that will help you land a specific job.
If you want to limit the length to 1 page, you can summarize your work history under a single heading such as "Positions held prior to 1995," with a list of companies and titles.
Using an online resume builder will also help you determine which format will work best for your career field.
- What to avoid
Although you know your experience is what may set you apart from other applicants, resume expert Robert Skladany said older job seekers should avoid the word and replace it with phrases that will emphasize capabilities, achievements and qualifications and how they will benefit a company.
You also want to avoid any reference to old and outdated technology.
"Unless you’re looking for a job to support old technology, drop the COBOL and Visicalc references – they don’t tell your audience that you’re technically adept in today’s technology. No one cares that COBOL programming and Visicalc spreadsheets took more talent, back in the old days," job coach Phil Rosenberg told Business 2 Community News. "These technologies were probably obsolete before the person reviewing your resume was even born."
If you can demonstrate how you differ from other candidates through the skills listed on your resume, a hiring manager will stop focusing on your age and concentrate on your assets as a potential employee. Your resume should always be customized for each specific position you are applying to, while showing how you have handled different problems in the workplace in the past.
By showing how you have used your skills over the years to become a hard working employee, you can turn what was once considered a weakness into one of your most valuable strengths.