article published courtesy of Deborah Walker
The most common concern among job seekers over 50 is that their resume
tends to date them. While it’s true that with age comes wisdom, it’s
also true that securing a great new job becomes challenging after a
certain age. If you are a member of the baby boomer generation you’ll
want to take note of the following three resume rules.
1. Don’t make it a history lesson.
One sure way to date yourself is to take your resume all the way back
to your first job out of college. That type of ancient history only
serves to give a time line to your age. Worse yet, it may show a
zig-zag career path that leaves the reader wondering how you arrived at
your current career destination.
When deciding how far back in your career history to go, think in terms
of relevancy rather than years. As a general rule, go back only as far
as it relates to your current career objective. There are a few
exceptions to the rule. First, if your current career path is five
years or less you’ll need to show a few years prior. Otherwise the
reader will wonder where you came from and how you got there. The
second exception is if you are returning to a previous career path and
wish to show the experience. In that case you’ll want to use the hybrid
resume format to allow your most relevant accomplishments up at the top
of your resume.
2. Get rid of ancient technology.
Another way your resume says “old codger” is by your choice of
technology information. Selling your skills with outdated technology is
as ineffective as an ad for buggy whips. It tells the reader that you
are living in the past rather than solving today’s problems with
One way to weed out your resume of old technology is to test your
resume against current job postings. Compare the needed technology
skills with what your resume lists. Delete what is no longer current.
If you find gaps look around for ways to bring your skills up to date.
Professional associations often provide certifications and special
training to help bring you up to date.
3. Make the present as alluring as the past.
The worst resume error for post-fifty job seekers is when their
chronological resume shows all the best accomplishments in earlier
employment entries. Nothing says “has been” like accomplishments that
don’t show up until page two or three. If your resume has no
accomplishments illustrated for the most current five years the reader
has no choice but to conclude you are an “over the hill” worker with no
ambition left. No employer wants to hire dead wood.
Given the downward trend of business over the past several years, lack
of resume accomplishments is a common problem. None the less, make all
effort to include accomplishments in your most recent years even if you
feel that your best years were pre-2001. Think in terms of problems
you’ve solved, costs you’ve cut, man-hours you’ve saved and clients
Another way to get accomplishments on page one is with a hybrid resume
format that allows you to create a highlight of accomplishments section
at the top of page one.
Age discrimination may be against the law, but we all know that it
takes place. Don’t let your resume stop you from getting your chance to
interview for your next job. Make sure your resume draws attention to
your skills, abilities and accomplishment rather than your age. Let
your success stories show how you can solve today’s critical business
Deborah Walker, Certified Career Management Coach
Read more career tips and see sample resumes at: