Reinventing Your Resume

Ernie Neve, CPA

September 10, 2020

Let’s be honest – most of us change jobs at a far greater pace than our parents.  As our global economy centers more and more on “gigs” and contractors, and companies like Uber and Upwork focus on outsourced labor (even CFOs are now becoming part-time jobs, so don’t think the “corner office” is exempt from this), older employees often find they are in the job market – even if they didn’t want to be.

With that in mind, and with the ever-present software now scanning resumes before a human being ever sees it, how can older workers compete with younger, more technologically savvy applicants?  

First things first?  

Don’t let your resume date you.  If your potential employer can’t determine your age, they can’t discriminate against you.  That may seem like a harsh way to look at it – and it is – but it can also land you the job you want.  

How do you do this?  First of all, look to your resume.  Many of us follow the old standard, bulletizing job by job from the time we left school until the present day.  As a general rule, there’s no need to discuss any job history more than 10-15 years old.  Think instead of creating a summary of previous careers or skills, and really bearing down on the most recent accomplishments.  That could be continuing educational courses and certifications as well as your present job (or career).  

Another key thing to accept is the role social media will play.  Sites like LinkedIn are critical for business networking and using your contacts to land your next job might not be as easy for older workers as for Millennials, but rest assured, it IS necessary.  

Spend the time – or hire the experts – to ensure you can use LinkedIn properly in a job search.  

Another hard thing for seasoned employees is the sheer volume of experience they have.  In this case, you need to “cherry-pick” the skills and jobs you might list for a given job and not worry about others.  Where once the rule was one page for a resume, now, with computers doing much of the work, limit your resume to two pages, but keep the copy focused on the job description AND the keywords an employer uses in the job posting.  

For example, if they are looking for a “Sales Manager” and your previous job called you a “Business Development Manager” although the jobs were basically the same, guess what?  

Yep.  Your resume should reflect “Sales manager!”

Now, this is NOT about lying – that’s wrong.  But it is about uncovering what a prospective employer is looking for and acknowledging that many companies are screening resumes based on keywords.  

In other words, no human being is looking at it until the computer has already run it through.  

Make sure you can get to the human part of the hiring process!

With just a little forethought, you can easily get your resume optimized and “timeless” and make sure you’re a part of every hiring process you choose to be.

 

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