For those of us who’ve been in the workforce for quite some time now, there are many changes in the employment sector that we’ve been privy to. This includes the evolution of career documentation into job targeted resumes and accompanying brand collateral such as LinkedIn. It also includes ever-changing technologies fuelled by a more dynamic and globally competitive marketplace where it’s more essential than ever to stand out.
While it can seem like a challenge, the tailoring of your career documentation is an opportunity to strategically provide the most relevant information, while avoiding other data that may detract and/or distract. The old-style resume format that listed your entire employment and academic history (with dates) is a thing of the past. And without wanting to go on too much about potential age bias, here are several pointers to consider when revamping your old resume:
- Don’t overdo the way-back dates – for example, most prospective employers won’t be that interested in knowing that you graduated from high school in 1989, particularly if you’ve had extensively more appropriate employment experience since then.
- Remove out-dated technical skills – try and ensure the IT and other technical capabilities you list in your resume are contemporary to today’s workplace; for example, Word Perfect word-processing software is well past its used-by date.
- Forget including a personal objective – most employers of today want to know what you can specifically bring to the table for them, how your employment will be advantageous, rather than what you’re individually seeking from the company to aid your career progression.
First and foremost, as an older job applicant, use the customising of your resume and other career documentation to highlight to recruiters how your long-term career history – not to mention your more mature approach to life – is going to benefit the employer organisation.
“What the tech industry often forgets is that with age comes wisdom. Older workers are usually better at following direction, mentoring, and leading.”
(Vivek Wadhwa, US Technology Entrepreneur and Academic)
Some of the primary professional assets that mature-aged job seekers should factor in when writing up their applications are as follows:
- Opportunities from lessons learnt – so much of what we learn about ourselves in relation to our preferred job role is ‘on the job’, and anyone who’s been in the workforce for an extensive amount of time is more likely to have an array of examples they can source and integrate.
- Well-rounded people skills – while some of us are born with interpersonal skills, it’s again often within work situations including conflicts of interest and teamwork-driven exercises that we further evolve our ability to engage, persuade, resolve and constructively take on feedback.
- Exposure to change – just about anyone who’s been working for a decade or two (or three) will have encountered upheavals, whether it’s company takeovers, large-scale technology upgrades, and/or significant market expansion; highlight how well you adapted across such situations.
These are only some of the areas that will better ‘sell’ your well-developed career trajectory. First and foremost, don’t take on board any of the ‘on the shelf’ hype when you have such an expansive skillset you can offer employers. In today’s marketplace, it’s all about putting your best – albeit tweaked – foot forward, so embrace the brand tailoring scenario and use it to your best advantage.
Sarah Cronin Consulting collaborates with job seekers to ensure their next chosen career step is professionally presented and successfully obtained. In addition to resumes and cover letters, we also design selection criteria, LinkedIn profiles and other career documentation, and provide LinkedIn coaching and interview skills training that ensures your career prospers. Contact us if you’d like to discuss your needs further.