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If You’re Over 50, It May be Time to Change Your Resume

September 21st, 2012

Should the resume of a 50-year- old person look different from that of a 35-year-old? Or a 25-year-old? In terms of basic organization, no. Resumes tend to follow a simple, straightforward format that helps employers compare one to another in a way that’s easy, timely, and fair. All resumes should begin with an initial summary, which should be followed by distinct sections for education, work history, and skills. But in terms of specific content, the resume of a middle-aged, mid-career employee can and should include details that younger resumes typically don’t.

If you’re over 50, consider updating and tweaking your resume in accordance with the following considerations. Even if you aren’t on the job market at the moment, making these changes now can save you some time if you find yourself applying for a new position.

The Over-50 Resume: Considerations

1. Streamline strategically. If you’ve been in the workforce for decades, a catalogue of your experience and accomplishments might fill ten pages or more. But a ten page resume is out of bounds, so you’ll need to trim. How can you say everything you need to say about your work history in two pages or fewer? Start by choosing only the five most relevant positions you’ve held (possibly also the most recent five). Leave the others out. You’ll just need to explain those gaps in your timeline during your interview, which is acceptable and widely expected.

2. While most entries under “work history” are divided equally between a summary of responsibilities and a list of special accomplishments, a mid-career resume should lean more heavily toward the second of the two. Don’t waste precious resume space listing the responsibilities expected of anyone a given position. Instead, use that space to polish and showcase your unique victories.

3. Don’t let your resume date you. For example, don’t state your age (or any other personal information for that matter, like religion, ethnicity, number of children or marital status). Just include your graduation dates in your education section and let potential employers do the math on their own. Also, make sure you use the latest version of Microsoft Word to draft and format your resume. Unless specifically requested, don’t submit your resume in rare, awkward file types like PDFs or Richtext (and by all means don’t use a typewriter).

For more resume tips and industry-specific guidance, contact the Connecticut job search headhunters in Fairfield County at Merritt Staffing. We have tools and resources you can use to polish your resume and gain an advantage over your competition.

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