Over 50? How to Write a Winning Resume
How should you write your resume if you’re over 50?
You might be tempted to add your last position to an already outdated resume.
But you’ll get a better reaction from employers if you emphasize your personal brand and the skills they’re seeking… making your age a non-issue.
Use these age-proof tips to create a strong over-50 resume strategy for a winning job search:
Check Your Resume Against Job Market Realities.
Don’t build your over-50 resume (or job goals) in a vacuum.
Instead, talk with recruiters and trusted contacts in your network to gauge the right target job level aligned with your skills.
Stay on top of happenings in your field, including potential hiring trends, by subscribing to industry news or joining trade associations. Contact private equity or investor firms to determine who they’re likely to hire.
Further clarify your goal by reviewing job postings or LinkedIn profiles of competing executives at your level – which will help you gain insight on your marketability, competitive value, and what employers want at your level.
If needed, ADJUST YOUR GOALS in light of your findings. Your resume (and job search) should be tuned for the right level the first time.
Tune Your Resume Summary to Match Your Career Goal.
Don’t recite your entire career history or mention the number of years of experience! Instead, pull in keywords from job descriptions for your target job, and then show your value proposition (without implying your age).
Build a powerful resume summary that shows the ROI you will deliver and the reasons you’re a viable candidate, as illustrated by these examples:
Strategic growth driver, mentor, and quality visionary with epic growth and financial performance record ($12B over competitors). Establishes team synergies enabling unsurpassed customer value, low-cost footprint, advantageous sourcing partnerships, tight production benchmarks, and best-in-class products.
Chief Technology Officer
High-energy technology and business executive who accelerates growth to create market-leading advantages – while preserving scalability and reliability. Leadership team member behind expedited cloud and AI transformation, including stakeholder buy-in, 50% better engineering team retention, innovation, new Centers of Excellence, low-cost offshore models, and customer collaboration.
Build an Age-Appropriate Strategy for Your Over-50 Resume.
How far back should your work history go?
Many resume guides point to 10-15 years, but you’ll also need to be realistic. Employers also expect an executive to possess decades of experience! You need to assess which of your past jobs are relevant.
For example, a CIO might find that earlier IT Manager positions should be listed on the resume, but not junior-level software development jobs. A VP of Operations could show roles dating back to Plant Analyst.
The key, of course, is to put just enough data in front of recruiters without CONCENTRATING on your age.
Don’t forget your Education section. A degree earned 15 years ago is probably relevant, but many college programs lose relevancy after that point. Therefore, you’ll want to drop dates off your degrees as you climb further up the corporate ladder.
Add Achievements DIRECTLY Tying Your Experience to the Right Jobs.
The key to a successful over-50 resume? Get close to your own personal brand by interviewing yourself! Answer these questions against the goal you defined in Step #1:
- Which of your achievements directly tie into the career goal you’ve defined?
- What strategies do you use to influence decisions, motivate teams, or secure new business?
- What are the peak cost savings, revenue, operational efficiencies, profit, or sales wins of your career?
- Name the skills and business capabilities you’ve demonstrated most often as a leader.
Now, write short success-story bullets for each major career accomplishment – sticking to the major wins that most closely match the jobs you want, and incorporate these statements into your resume.
Refresh Your Over-50 Resume Format for a Modern, Yet Classic Look.
No matter if you fit the over-50 category or not, many resumes now employ a mix of graphics and other visual elements.
You’ll want to modernize the look of your resume in order to stand out.
By adding even a splash of color or a different border to your resume, you’ll help employers distinguish your credentials from others.
Use executive resume samples (keeping in mind that many of these examples were created for candidates of your age and career level) to gain more ideas for a fresh new visual approach.
In short, it’s not the 1990’s anymore!