Searching for a new job is challenging, regardless of how old you are. However, if you are 50 or older, you may face some additional hurdles.
According to AARP Research, nearly two out of three workers age 50-plus (62 percent) think older adults face discrimination in the workplace today based on age. Their concern is justified. Government data shows that age 55-plus job seekers typically face substantially longer periods of unemployment compared with those job seekers between 20 and 24.
If you are concerned about facing bias during the job search, don’t panic. There are many things you can do to showcase the skills and experience you’ve earned during your career. The following tips will help you age-proof your résumé to help you stand out from the competition and land the right job.
1. Focus on your recent experience.
The further along you are in your career, the less relevant your earlier work experience becomes. Employers care most about your recent work that matters for the roles they’re filling, not your experience from 15 or more years ago. As a result, give more detail about the positions you’ve held in the past 10 to 15 years that are related to your current job search, and say less about your earliest jobs.
2. Eliminate older dates.
Remove the dates related to work experience, education and certifications if they fall outside the 15-year window. While you may want to consolidate older work experience in a separate section or a “Career Note,” including the dates of employment is unnecessary. Similarly, it’s important to share your credentials on your résumé, but the employer doesn’t need to know you earned your MBA more than 17 years ago.
3. Limit your résumé to two pages.
Most recruiters spend less than 10 seconds reviewing a résumé before deciding if the candidate should receive further consideration. With so little time to make the right impression, it’s important to streamline your résumé to two pages. Focus on using this space to highlight your recent work experience and accomplishments that best match your current career goals.
4. Avoid the “jack-of-all-trades” approach.
Although you may have held numerous roles throughout your career, your résumé shouldn’t be a laundry list of everything you have done. Focus on tailoring your résumé’s content to support your current career objective, rather than providing a generalized summary of your entire work history.