Unemployment has affected all age groups, from young professionals to older, more experienced workers. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that older workers remain unemployed longer than younger workers.
The good news: The job market is improving, and older workers are benefiting the most. According to the BLS, the number of people over age 55 who have a job has increased by 1.69 million over the past year, a larger increase than any other age group.
But the fact remains — the job search has changed. Resumes are no longer read on paper (and often pre-screened through an employer’s ATS), Google and social media are used for researching job candidates, and employers are focused on what they want, as opposed to what you want.
Ensure your resume is up-to-par with these tips:
Only list industry-specific skills. Include programs and applications that you’ve learned and used regularly during your past positions, but leave off programs such as Word or Excel. Most employers expect that you know how to use these. On a similar note, remove programs that are outdated that you learned several years ago (there’s likely a newer version you’ll need to learn how to use, anyway).
Don’t include your AOL email address. Many people tend to think you’re outdated if you still have an AOL email address, and the same goes for an email that includes numbers (such as your birthdate) or “cutesy” names that were once popular for screen names online. Ideally, your email address should be some combination of your first and last name. You can also consider including your industry or field in your email address. Gmail is a great (free) email program that many people use as their main email address today.
Leave off graduation years. Although education is important, the year you graduated college or got your MBA is not as vital to employers when you have extensive experience in your industry. It’s easy to figure out how old someone is from the date they graduated, so instead include the city and state of the college or university along with your degree type. If the employer needs the exact dates, they can find those out later on.
Only include the most relevant experience. Years of experience is impressive and valuable — but make sure you’re presenting it in the best format possible. Most employers want to see your most recent five years of experience, so don’t include 20+ years. Instead, put additional experience in a separate category called “Other Experience” and summarize it without dates.
List your resume online. Join LinkedIn, create a professional portfolio, or post your resume on websites like Indeed. Many employers search and screen candidates based on their online brand, and not having one at all could be harmful in your job search.
As an older job seeker, what challenges have you faced in today’s job search? What other tips would you add to this list?