Resume-Building Tips for Older Workers

Last updated: May 20, 2024
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Janice Reed
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Resume-Building Tips for Older Workers
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The resume requirements and layouts may have changed since you last applied for a job, and you don't want your resume to look outdated.

Whether you are starting from scratch or just need to freshen things up, you must create a winning resume that will help you get the job you want.

As an older job seeker, you may have some concerns about your resume. Maybe you're worried that your resume will look too "old" or that it won't reflect the skills you've acquired over the years. You might be wondering how to build a resume for the older worker. This guide covers the tips and tactics you need to know.

Why do you need to update your resume?

Updating your resume is essential for several reasons. First, it ensures that your resume is current and reflects your most recent work experience. Second, it helps you match your skills and experience to the requirements of the job you are applying for.

Finally, updating your resume shows that you are keeping up with the latest trends and technologies. For instance, if you're applying for IT jobs, you need to show employers you have adequate computer skills and are comfortable using digital platforms to apply for roles.

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As an older worker, you must update your resume to reflect your current skills and experience. That means including any new jobs, promotions, or other accomplishments since you last submitted your resume.

You may also want to remove older roles or work experience, especially if they are no longer relevant to the kind of job you are seeking.

Even if you have not had any significant changes in your career, it is still a wise choice to update your resume so that the hiring manager knows your trajectory throughout your career wasn't stagnant.

How to build a resume for the older worker

25.5 million employees are between the ages of 55 and 64 and, according to a recent survey, more Americans want to work past the age of 70. Many older workers are in the banking, accounting, and finance industries.

As an older worker, you need to build your resume for the current trends. Older workers face unique challenges when building their resumes. Many are reentering the workforce after raising families or taking time off for other priorities and may not have kept their work histories up to date.

Others may have been laid off or downsized and need help translating their experience to today's job market. Here are a eight tips for older workers who want to create a resume that will stand out.

1. Remove the dates

Remove any mention of dates from your education and experience sections. You don't want to give the impression that you are too old for the job.

Your resume does not need to include dates of employment, education, or training. It may be more appropriate to simply state the number of years you have been employed in a particular field.

As you can see in the example below, the applicant has not mentioned any graduation dates. Instead, they have merely mentioned their degree and major. Some resume templates might require you to enter a date in your education section, but you can simply go ahead and delete it.

Graduation Dates on Resumes

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If you have significant gaps in your work history, you can use your resume to explain what you were doing in that time period. Being a homemaker or carer is a perfectly reasonable explanation for gaps in employment. And there are many transferable skills that those roles provide, such as organization and time management skills.

If you studied or completed training during time out of employment, make sure to mention that. And note down any time spent volunteering or contributing within the community.

2. Focus on recent work experience

Don't mention your work experience from decades ago. Instead, focus on your most recent work experience and highlight the skills you’ve acquired over the years.

Make sure you have relevant experience for the job you are applying for. When reviewing your professional experience, think about whether or not each job is relevant to the one you are applying for. If it isn't, leave it off your resume.

As you can see in the example resume below, the applicant has listed their experience in reverse chronological order, with the most recent position at the top. A reverse chronological resume tends to be more effective since it shows the hiring manager your most recent skills and expertise.


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3. Use keywords

Make sure to use keywords relevant to the job you are applying for. It will help your resume stand out when employers are searching for candidates.

When describing your work experience and skills, use active language that paints a picture of what you do. For example, "managed a team of 12 customer service representatives" is more effective than "was responsible for a team of customer service representatives."

Using keywords are important for these reasons:

  • Better visibility: The hiring manager is more likely to find your resume if it includes the right keywords.

  • Alignment with job openings: If you're applying for a specific job, using the exact keywords that appear in the job description helps show that you're a good fit for the position.

  • Increased chances of getting an interview: By including industry-specific keywords and highlighting your most relevant skills and experience, you're more likely to be contacted for an interview.

4. Highlight your skills and accomplishments

When it comes to the content of your resume, highlight your skills and accomplishments rather than simply listing your job duties. For each position, include a few key points that demonstrate what you have accomplished in that role.

For example, if you are applying for a job as an administrative assistant, you might highlight your experience managing projects, coordinating events, or handling customer inquiries.

Older workers often have a wealth of experience that can be leveraged to show potential employers what they can do. When writing your resume, focus on this additional experience to make you stand out from other applicants.

Critical skills required for most roles tend to be soft skills, such as teamwork and effective communication. Make sure your resume tells the hiring manager that you've acquired these skills over the years.

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5. Optimize for ATS

As an older worker, you should also optimize your resume for an applicant tracking system (ATS). It will help your resume stand out and improve your chances of getting an interview.

An ATS is software that helps recruiters and employers sort and filter resumes. Many employers use an ATS to screen applicants before even seeing their resumes. So, if your resume isn't formatted for the ATS, it may never be seen by a human being. Here are some optimization tips:

  • Word or PDF file: Save your resume as a PDF or Word document. Some ATS can't read specific formats (like .jpg).

  • Keywords: Use keywords from the job listing in your resume. It will help the ATS match you with the right job.

  • Simple design: Stick to a simple, easy-to-read design. The ATS may have trouble with certain fonts or images.

  • Reverse chronological order: List your experience in reverse chronological order. It's the standard format, and it's what the ATS is looking for.

  • Include essential details: Include your name, contact information, and education in your resume. Nowadays, employers also look for soft skills on resumes. Soft skills are non-technical skills that can’t be taught, such as communication and leadership. Hard skills are learned through practice and education. Be sure to list both your hard and soft skills on your resume.

  • Match job title: Where possible, match your current or previous job title to the one in the listing. This highlights your relevant experience to your potential employer.

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6. Make a career summary section

The career summary is a brief overview of your work experience, skills, and achievements. It should be one or two sentences long, and it should appear at the top of your resume. You can think of it as a way to introduce yourself to employers.

As an older worker, you probably have more work experience than the average young worker. As a result, you may want to focus on your experience in your career summary. For example, you might say, "Experienced sales professional with more than ten years of experience in XYZ."

The resume below is an excellent example of how you can write a career summary reflecting your skills and expertise. Notice how the applicant has also mentioned they accumulated a ''95% customer satisfaction rating'.' This shows that this person is experienced and good at what they do.

Resume Summary Section

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7. Use an updated email address

Don't use an old, outdated email address. Instead, create a new, professional-looking email address that you will use solely for your job search. Your prospective employers will be impressed if they see a professional email address rather than one you created a long time ago.

8. Update your resume regularly

Update your resume regularly, even if you are not job-hunting. At a minimum, update it annually to reflect changes in your work history, education, or skills.

All resumes should have an objective or summary statement, followed by a chronological list of your skills and accomplishments. Besides the information, you should also update resume formats as per the current trends. It will show potential employers that you keep up with the changing times.

Let your resume speak for you

As an older worker, you need to update your resume regularly. You should remove the dates, focus on recent work experience, use keywords, and highlight your skills and accomplishments. Additionally, you should make sure to optimize your resume for applicant tracking systems and use an updated email address.

If you're job hunting right now, Jobcase is the best platform to find job posts from all job boards in one place. And you can find motivation and support from other older workers within our community.



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