3 Résumé Tips for Older Workers to Use in Maximizing Their Appeal to Employers

July 18, 2017 Steven Watson, PhD, CPRW Older Workers Issues and Trends

The unique challenges faced by older workers in finding employment have been well documented by researchers and employment specialists. Statistics have been consistent in showing that workers over 55 years of age take longer to find employment than their younger counterparts.

A related factor of equal importance is the upsurge in people aged 65+ remaining or re-entering the job market which adds an additional twist to the issue.

There are a host of things older workers can do to remain competitive in the job market. However, the focus in this post will be on résumé creation, still one of the most important things any worker can do to grab the attention of employers.

Here are 3 things older workers can do to minimize age bias in their résumé.

Keep the résumé narrative targeted to the most recent 12-15 years of experience if possible.

A critical mistake many older workers make is to turn their résumés into a historical document loaded with detailed narrative of past jobs. Most of us are proud of what we have achieved over our careers. However, a much more strategic approach is to craft compelling narrative that covers 12 to 15 years of experience (if possible) and focuses more on accomplishments rather than basic job descriptions.

Résumés are self-marketing documents that establish your brand with prospective employers. In most cases, employers focus much more on recent employment because it best represents what you can do now. Older workers are better served by optimizing the impact of more recent work and, if necessary, documenting earlier work in a Career Note without using dates.

Produce résumé narrative that mirrors enthusiasm, energy, and openness to new opportunities.

The tone used in a résumé to display your background, talents, and accomplishments can be critical in driving employers’ interest. Stereotypes of older workers, such as being overly traditional, inflexible, and lacking technical skills can be overcome with well targeted résumé narrative.

It is important to shape your resume narrative to demonstrate openness to new ideas and continuous learning, as well as comfort in working within team environments. Highlighting your knowledge of basic computer applications and other technologies or ability to quickly learn them is also essential.

Confidence and self-assurance, along with a touch of humility can go a long way in a résumé.

Older workers who become too focused on their age run the risk of underselling or under-demonstrating their skills, attributes, and talents. It is very appropriate and strategically sound to provide narrative in the opening summary that documents your unique background and perspective, but without referencing age or years of experience.

Avoid terms such as “25 years of experience” in the narrative, but highlight the fact that you have a diverse set of skills and valuable experience that sets you apart from others. However, couple this language with statements that you are flexible and adaptable to new situations and practices.


The increase in people nearing retirement age, but choosing to remain in the workforce appears to be an enduring trend that will have a major impact on the job market. However, older workers face unique challenges, including age bias from many sources that are often based on stereotypes that have developed over the years.

One of the best approaches to addressing age bias in hiring is by creating a dynamic resume that expresses a sense of enthusiasm, energy, flexibility, and openness to new practices and processes. While it is possible to do this yourself, using the specialized knowledge and skills of professional resume writers can make an important difference.

job market, job search, older workers, résumé,

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