Older job seekers have a number of advantages in the job market. Employers looking for lots of experience and a proven record will often find older applicants to be the best fit. It’s important, however, that you learn how to format a resume that shows off your hard-won achievements and that convinces employers to bring you in for an interview.
1. Determining the Best Resume Format
Stick with the tried-and-true chronological resume format when you have been in the same field for a long time and are continuing within it. A chronological resume is the standard format in most industries and therefore the safest bet. It highlights a steady career path and gives an employer a clear view of your progress. On the other hand, focus on your skills and abilities when you’ve been out of the workforce for an extended period of time or are making a dramatic career change. Rather than a chronological format, use a hybrid resume format, combining the chronological and functional forms. Don’t minimize your years of experience with a purely functional resume, even if that experience is in another line of work.
2. How to Format a Resume Experience Section for Older Job Seekers
Work backwards and list your most recent position first. Give your position title, the name of the business, the location and the dates you were employed there, and follow this with four to seven bullet points that lay out your daily responsibilities as well as specific accomplishments. The bullet points should start with strong actions words like “Achieved” and “Completed” instead of phrases like “Responsible for” or “Duties included.” Leave out jobs from more than 20 years ago because the resume should be kept between one and two pages. The usual rule is to devote one page to every 10 years of experience.
3. How to Format a Resume Education Section for Older Job Seekers
Allow your education section to complement your experience section. While you may have a long educational record, only include those parts that are pertinent to the job. Include the degree conferred and, below it in a bulleted list, any certifications completed or courses taken that apply to the position. For example, if you’re applying to work in health care, you may include a CPR course, but not if you’re applying to a bank. Don’t mention certifications for outdated technology. If you have many certifications and licenses, consider putting them in their own section. To reduce the likelihood of age discrimination, leave off the dates when listing degrees.
4. How to Format a Resume Summary Statement for Older Job Seekers
Begin your resume with a summary statement to introduce yourself to employers and clarify your selling points. In the past, every resume began with an objective section, but these have fallen out of style. Rather than explain what you’re looking for in a job, use a summary statement to tell employers what you will bring to their company. If you a have had a variety of past jobs, try to tie your experiences together in this summary. State your most important traits and proven skills. As in the experience section, use action words and clear, precise language. Keep the statement three to five lines long, and always keep in mind the requirements of the job you are seeking.
Employers are looking for experienced applicants, so older job seekers may have a leg up! You can learn more about how to format a resume and get more writing tips on LiveCareer.