Tech & Work

Four resume tips for older workers

People aged 55 and older are twice as likely to experience age barriers in employment than any other discrimination. Here are some resume tips on how older workers can get around this issue.

People aged 55 and older are twice as likely to experience age barriers in employment than any other discrimination. Here are some resume tips on how older workers can get around this issue.

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According to research from the University of Kent, from age 55, people worldwide are nearly twice as likely to have experienced age barriers than any other discrimination.

I've heard a lot from my older readers in regard to age discrimination. Some talk about discrimination they've faced while on the job, but even more of them point out discrimination they face when they're looking for a job. The latter is perhaps worse because it's harder to prove. After all, how can you prove that a hiring manager, in the privacy of his office, took one look at the college graduation date on your resume and tossed it?

Although it doesn't look like our youth-obsessed culture is going to change any time soon, there are a few things that you, as an older worker, can do to give yourself a fighting chance at landing a job. One is to craft your resume in such a way that your accomplishments and skills are highlighted instead of the number of years you spent developing and achieving them.

First, leave off the dates. Don't include your birth date, graduation date, or, if you can avoid it, dates of employment.

Consider using a chrono-functional resume. This resume is organized around functional skills clusters. You can list a bare-bones work history at the bottom of your resume, but only after you've emphasized the relevant skills; this de-emphasizes the dates. It may be a little difficult to discuss functional skills without, for example, mentioning particular software versions you've worked with (which would then indicate the time span within which you were working), but it can be finessed.

List only the last 10-15 years of work experience. There's no need to list anything further back than that.

Instead of citing 20 years of experience, identify your benefits to the employer and put them into monetary terms. Back up your accomplishments with facts that are benefit-based. Sell them from the perspective of the result of your work and how it served your present and previous employers.

Last — and this advice holds not just for the sake of your resume but for your career in general — keep your skills current. If you can show that you are constantly learning and moving forward, then you can do your part to dispel the old adage that old dogs can't learn new tricks.

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About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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