Boomers: How to Get Your Resume Ready

Business-ownerWith a surge of mature professionals (often referred to as baby boomers) in the workforce, and the increasing need for extended employment beyond the common retirement age – many boomers are still actively managing their careers and conducting job searches.

Yet, a lot of mature professionals struggle with how to address their unique situations in a modern marketing tool: the resume. For many it has been several years since they had to compile a resume (if ever!), and times have changed.

To avoid age discrimination while still showcasing depth and breadth of expertise, or to succinctly summarize career details without losing impact, special care must be taken with the resume.

If you are a boomer looking to apply for a new job, make a career change, re-enter the workforce, or take your career to the next level – take note of these custom tips:

1. Keep career history targeted.

Your employment likely dates back many years and includes a wealth of expertise and experience, but not everything should be included in your resume. Avoid writing a boring ‘history novel’ by keeping resume content focused on your most recent 10 to 15 years of experience, and/or your most relevant and transferable roles. If you need to draw from earlier career history, employ a format other than the basic reverse-chronological.

A combination resume format can allow you to address earlier details without having to walk the reader through every past position.

2. Think marketing tool; not career chronology.

Old-fashioned resume approaches will brand you as just that: old-fashioned.  If you are hoping to use the same resume you used 10 years ago, forget it.  If your resume reads like a career obituary, you are off track.To set yourself apart from competitors, you must employ current resume formats, tailored content, and branding strategies.  If any of these concepts seem foreign or challenging – engage a professional to help you.

3. Focus on achievements instead of tasks.

Again, a play-by-play of job responsibilities will earn you no distinction.  With plenty of experience to draw from you should have a wealth of stellar examples to backup your acclaimed skill sets.Don’t just tell an employer you are good at something…i.e: “I am a strong leader”…PROVE it: “Directed a team of 50 through the creation of the first 5-year business plan”.Keep ‘fluff’ to a minimum: outstanding communicator, excellent team player, hard-working professional are weak words with little value.

Demonstrate your value with results-focused accomplishments, quantifying how much, how many, and how often to drive home your talents.

4. Modernize your language and your look.

I’m talking about the resume.  Don’t let the look or the ‘sound’ of your resume age you.   A reverse-chronological resume typed in black Times New Roman font screams old-school…not up-to-speed savvy professional.  Avoid dated terminology, phrases, or words and old-school objective statements.Employ current strategies like a branding tagline or succinct profile.

Keep language sharp and contemporary.  Scour the job postings to locate commonly used keywords (also known as buzzwords) or phrases to pepper throughout.   Even consider adding testimonials, graphs, charts, or a splash of color for greater visual appeal.

5. Finally demonstrate tech savvy.

Know how to create and use various versions of your resume for different situations. For example, if you are emailing your resume it is best to send a file that is ‘human-eye’ friendly and includes visual appeal (like a PDF).  But if you apply online through an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) you will likely need a more stripped-down version of your resume (a plain text or Word file is recommended for ATS applications).

Next, join LinkedIn and populate your profile professionally add your profile’s URL to your resume.  Ensure your online reputation is polished to perfection and that employers can locate you online (not being online is like not existing at all) and get yourself a modern email address (like Gmail) where you can be contacted.

If you craft your resume with care and ‘move with the times’ you can overcome any obstacle as a mature job seeker and effectively stand apart from competitors.  Never blame your age on your inability to secure employment; simply keep away from antiquated resume approaches and build your confidence by using a modern career tool that clearly demonstrates your value!

Adrienne Tom

Looking to take your executive resume or job search to the next level to land your next job faster and increase your earning power? I can help! Visit me online at to learn more about my award-winning resume writing, LinkedIn writing, and job search strategies for top professionals and executives located across Canada and the USA.

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