Let’s be honest, ageism exists and it sucks. People with a ton of experience and ever more wisdom face the harsh realities that some companies will want to hire younger. And cheaper.
However, understand that it’s the interview that can dictate your outcome. In the interview room, you can take control. You can grab them by the arms (not physically of course) and shake their belief in you as a viable candidate. As someone that can demonstrate value and not only be a solid fit for the role but someone they should’ve hired yesterday. An interview room is your last stand in proving just how well you’ll gel with them. Be one of the team members, and a liked one at that. An interview room is your one hour to let fate take its natural course, but not without a little push in the right direction.
The tricky part for an accomplished job seeker? Getting into that room. Red flags are a real thing. Recruiters do have an “eye” they use in 6 seconds to see if they should keep reading. So do yourself a favor, eliminate (or at least reduce) those red flags and get yourself into that interview room!
Here are some quick examples in how to help alleviate the red flags on the resume, and concerns of being an older job seeker:
1. Summary – do not go beyond 20 years of experience when mentioning tenure length on your resume
2. Stick to 1-2 pages maximum
3. Drop the dates off your education/affiliation/licensure
4. Do no go beyond 10 years of work experience. If something really neat comes from 2010 or before, add that specific line of dialogue under a Key Accomplishments section before the Experience section
5. Use a relevant email (Gmail, even Yahoo still, but not AOL, etc)
6. Do not list dated software…only relevant to what the job target is and the most recent edition of that respective software
7. Amp up your experience section so you demonstrate more accomplishments, value offerings, and metrics over tasks. This is your most important section, let it shine!
8. Relevance – make sure to only speak to the most recent 5-7 years of experience. This makes it more relevant and answers “what can you do for me now?”
9. More relevant skills that are ATS-compliant so you can stand out more during the application. I would also add any other buzzwords you can find from the job descriptions or LinkedIn endorsements section to filter into your resume to comply with the ATS. You want to work on incorporating keywords and strategies for the digital application process. Not only do these systems organize and sort applications, but they can also be programmed to screen candidates based on what content you include in your resume. At this point, recruiters can search for submissions using keywords and phrases to identify candidates to advance through the hiring process. To find some of these, you can either use the job description of your targeted roles, or the endorsements sections on LinkedIn profiles from leaders in your business. You need to add this Core Competency Section. Continue to add to these as you acquire more experience that brings along new methodologies, leadership strategies or styles, and additional technical aptitude.
10. Having said that, the work from prior to 2010 can go under a Previous Work History as follows:
Previous Work History (Prior to 2010):
Title, Company, Location (note: do not put actual years you worked as that specific role)
Title, Company, Location
Title, Company, Location
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