Over 50? 3 Tips For Writing An Ageless Resume

Age discrimination is real. So, what can you do if you are over 50 and know hiring managers are screening you out? Some suggest leaving dates of graduation off your resume. Others suggest only listing your last 15 years of experience. The problem with these suggestions is recruiters are keen to them. Thus, if you do them - you'll get screened out anyways! Here are 3 resume tips for job seekers over 50:


1. Understand what an ATS is and how to write a resume for it.
ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System. Companies use them to match resumes that are submitted on-line to their job postings. The problem with the technology is that, according to a recent Wall St. Journal article, they actually screen out the best candidates. The solution is to keyword optimize your resume for the job you are applying to. Make sure you have all the words in the job description (skills, traits, experience, etc.) that the job description has so that you match more tightly and (hopefully) get passed on to a human for review.


2. Simplify your text.
Writing formally and with lots of multi-syllabic words screams "I'm old-school and I'm trying hard to impress you!" In fact, a study indicates when people use complex vocabulary, they actually come across as less impressive. Don't date yourself by writing in overly-formal language. Keep it simple and easy to read.


3. Be objective – a.k.a. stick to the facts.
Years ago, writing a good resume was all about making yourself sound amazing. You filled it with subjective text like, "resourceful self-starter" and "accomplished multi-tasker with outstanding attention to detail." The problem with this text is it's an opinion of yourself. And these days, recruiters are sick and tired of reading resumes where the person sounds too good to be true.

The new resume style focuses on removing over-the-top language and sticking to the quantifiable accomplishments. "15+ years managing departments ranging in size from 10-50 people with average operational budget of $500K/month," is far more impressive than saying, "I'm an exceptional people person with top-notch leadership skills and the ability to drive performance." The first one is fact, the second one is fluff. See the difference? Recruiters sure do!


As an over 50 worker, you have the professional experience and expertise to do great things for another 17+ years. However, you won't get that chance if you don't update your resume to reflect the fact that in spite of your age, you are timeless in your ability to adapt to the changing professional landscape. Updating your resume using the tips above will help you achieve a more attractive persona – and hopefully get employers to see age brings value!


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misslavene61

thank you so much for opening my eye and mine i didnot have no idea how to write a resume for over fifty i will be sixty 09/04/13 and i donot want to stop or have my children take care of me i want to work until i cannot work no more. i really didnot know to many places that hire older people as myself.i also go to back to work program and i am in school right now we are told to write resumes and i just didnot know all these things untill i went looking for older people resumes. thank you i learn so much from this thank you so much and i am going to send other students thats my age here my school name is fegs back to work program in the bronx all older people as myself need to see this thank you .misslavene61@aol.com

June 03 2013 at 3:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bdgrizcp

I'm 61, and about to leave a job voluntarily after 17 years because, simply stated, it's become too physical. Rather than hide my age, I plan on making it clear. If that's a problem, just say so. I've got more to offer, and you are not the only fish in the sea.

June 04 2012 at 11:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gjohnso627

So much hype for resumes when all they want to hire are the GED kings and queens. All of this for a minumum wage job. Middle management jobs have been either outsourced or no longer exists.

June 04 2012 at 8:09 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
jameshvolk

I recently began writting a blog about my wife's and my own personal experiences with age discrimination and trying to secure a position. With over 35 years of exceptional experience and performance coupled with 60 birthdays, I cannot get a toe in the door, let alone a foot! By the way, my blog is titled "I HAD A BIRTHDAY, NOT A LOBOTOMY!"

June 04 2012 at 7:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dsdnthat

Let's see.... they want someone with less experience, who writes poorly, and doesn't have a high opinion of themselves or is too unassertive to express themselves. The dumbing down of America is now complete.

June 04 2012 at 6:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
DeVoneWorks

I continue to find the age discrimination thing amazing.

Psst! I understand that people are living longer. Pretty soon 80 will be the median age. I guess the robots would have taken over by then. ;)

June 04 2012 at 5:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Aida

I went to two interviews in Hollywood, CA where I was told that I didn't have the "look" that their company was looking for (the job was for an AA in the "back" room, not for an acting job, and the second stated that they wanted someone more "hip". It appears that both my resume and my telephone interviews go very well, and peak employer's interest, but once they take a look at my face (I am 57 years old), some people go into shock and want to dig a hole in which to bury me.

Mountainlora, I know Exactly what you went through and what you felt. There is an unwritten rule which some employers are using to fill their vacancies: "No One over the Age of 40 Allowed" Sad, but very, Very true! :P

June 04 2012 at 4:20 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Nancy

So, pretty much just dumb it down...gotcha.

June 04 2012 at 2:50 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
mountainlora

I made my resume ageless and got an interview. As I sat in the waiting room, 30 years older than the other women waiting, I realized I was far more experienced, skilled, and emotionally mature than them. While still slender, well-dressed, and professional, my face certainly isn't 20 any more.

I still can hardly keep from laughing. When the owner walked in and called my name, it took everything I had not to laugh out loud at his facial expression when he saw me! His jaw literally dropped. (Like what, 50 is now 100?) The interview was even worse, as he prefaced EVERY question with this statement: "Now don't get offended; I ask this of everyone whether 20 or 80 ..."

Do you suppose he starts every question that way with the 20-year-olds?

June 04 2012 at 2:38 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mountainlora's comment
J.T. O'Donnell

mountainlora Thanks for sharing that story! Talk about proof that hiring is discrimination, huh? Honestly, I wouldn't want to work for a company that doesn't see the upside to hiring seasoned pros. I wish I could get business owners to think more strategically about how they hire, but since it's their company, they can do very silly things like that.

My favorite line in what you wrote is that you realized as you stared around the room how much you have to offer. Never forget that! It's what will make the right employer pay extra! That employer is out there somewhere, just waiting for you to prove it! Good luck and thanks again for sharing!!!

June 04 2012 at 3:57 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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