Effective Resumes for Boomers
At any age a resume can be a first introduction to a potential employer, and as such it deserves your most careful attention. Also, the self-analysis and strategic thought you put into writing an effective resume will help you communicate your skills and strengths throughout your job search.
However; when you reach midlife your professional history is long and often multifaceted. The strategies needed to write a compelling resume that is an effective marketing tool are different than when you were younger. Now is the time to bend or break the "rules" when they don’t serve your goal of telling your story well, and presenting your qualifications and your personal attributes in the best possible light.
- There’s no need to restrict yourself to one page. A well-written resume will tell your story quickly and concisely and include all of your relevant experience, but no more. Focus on your accomplishments and interest the reader in learning more about you.
- There is no need to restrict yourself to writing about the last ten, or fifteen, years of one’s career. In many cases the length and diversity of your career is your strength. If your early experience is relevant to your new position, include it.
- There is no need to present your experience chronologically. If you want to highlight experience from earlier in your career consider using a functional rather than a chronological format for your resume. In a functional resume your professional experience is organized under headings titled for skills ie: Marketing, Fundraising, Teaching; allowing you to stress the skills that are most relevant to your next position. List your professional history, the chronology of employer names, job titles, dates and brief descriptions in a separate, later section.
Efforts to blatantly manipulate your resume in order to hide your age will backfire when you arrive for your interview. Rather than trying to appear younger, focus instead on showing the reader the depth, and relevance of your experience, and that you are a candidate who can step in and do a thoroughly professional job.
Styles change in resumes, as in fashion. The following tips will help you give an up-to-date impression:
- Leave off the "job objective." It is passé. Employers are more interested in what you can do for them than in what you want. Instead consider beginning with a three to five point summary of your strongest qualifications - qualifications that you will later expand upon in the body of your resume.
- Focus on your accomplishments and results rather than just listing your responsibilities. This is an area where Boomers can really shine because, quite naturally, you have been in the work-force for a long time and will have more accomplishments than someone younger. Writing about your accomplishments will illustrate your capabilities and make your resume a compelling document that will motivate hiring managers to pick up the phone.
You will find articles here by Job-Hunt.org Resume Expert author Susan Ireland that will explain, in more detail, how to craft a summary of your qualifications and write succinct accomplishment statements.
- Avoid overblown language and clichés. Hiring managers assume Boomers are conscientious, reliable, and dependable and have good interpersonal and communication skills. Dig a little deeper. Rather than writing ‘good communication skills’ write what that means in your case. Do you write clear and accurate reports, or does it mean you’re a good negotiator? Be specific.
- Review your Education and Training sections. Including your recent professional training and up-to-date credentials will demonstrate your commitment to life long learning and show employers that you are keeping up with your field. Also, be sure to include any training that shows you are aware of current management trends. If you have credentials that are no longer relevant, remove them.
Writing a well-crafted resume takes time and effort, but it is time well spent. When you invest the thought and energy needed to communicate your experience advantage clearly and effectively, you will raise your self-confidence (a reminder of all you’ve accomplished!) and create a document that will help you stand out from the crowd - attracting the attention and respect of the people you most want to impress.
© Copyright, 2009, Phyllis Mufson. Used with permission.
About This Author:
Phyllis Mufson is a career / business consultant and a certified life coach with over 25 years of experience. She has helped hundreds of clients successfully navigate career transitions. You can learn more about Phyllis and her practice at PhyllisMufson.com and follow Phyllis on Twitter @PhyllisMufson.