Resume Strategies for a Laid-Off, More Mature Worker

Erin Kennedy, MCD, CMRW, CPRW, CERW, CEMC, is a Certified Professional Resume Writer/Career Consultant, and the President of Professional Resume Services, named one of Forbes “Top 100 Career Websites”.

If it’s been a while since you’ve needed a resume, it can seem overwhelming to start the process of updating one, especially if you have recently become unemployed. You have 3 factors to deal with in your resume: online presence, employment status, and age. Some older workers believe they should easily be able to get a new job because of their extensive experience. While that seems reasonable, there’s a lot to take into consideration.

You do not want an old-looking resume to give away your age; to show that you’re not quite caught up with the times, as it could hurt your candidacy. A lot of companies today are looking for younger people out of college with a few years of experience and new ideas. The general perception is older workers won’t come in with those new ideas and may be difficult to train. Here are some issues that typically need to be addressed so that employers see you as current (vs. old) and not assume that your period of unemployment is a vacation.

No Online Presence

One of the first things a recruiter will do when they receive a resume is to conduct an online search for the person’s name. If you have a negative online presence or no online presence at all, then your chances of moving to the next step in the hiring process are slim. At the very least, develop your executive LinkedIn profile to the point where it shows up at the top of the search results. That way, you’ll know exactly what recruiters are seeing when they search for your name.

Being active on LinkedIn and other social media platforms will increase your visibility. You can publish original articles to your blog or social media profiles. Joining LinkedIn groups and participating in discussions on professional forums can also help promote your name. Just be sure to think carefully about everything you post online, as anything you say can be used against you.

Currently Employed

Being unemployed isn’t necessarily your fault. However, it can put you at a disadvantage because some employers view an unemployed job seeker as less desirable than an employed applicant. And the longer you are unemployed, the less attractive you may be to a potential employer. Sending out your resume soon after you lay off will be to your benefit. You also want to show yourself as being active during this time, so consider taking classes to enhance your technical expertise in social media applications or other platforms. This could increase your competitiveness in the job market since many of these platforms probably didn’t exist when you began your career. You can also add professional testimonials right on your resume from your last place of employment. This will show that you left there on good terms.

You do not want an old-looking resume to give away your age; to show that you’re not quite caught up with the times, as it could hurt your candidacy.


Age Discrimination

Though you no doubt have years of experience, you don’t want to list all of that on your resume. Once you show your job experiences back 15 years or so. The rest of your work experience can be listed as early career experience with 1-2 sentences explaining it. List your education
without the years included. You want to modernize your resume by removing any references you may have listed. Make sure you have a link to your LinkedIn profile included.  Recruiters are going to look at your profile, so make it easy for them. Delete your address and any non-relevant skills, as this will definitely date you. Include any technical skills you may have, which shows you have kept up with the times. Employers don’t want to spend time or money training and teaching basic technical skills, so if you already have them, you will be a step ahead of other candidates your age. You also want to remove the “objective” statement and include an eye-catching summary statement at the top. Whether it’s formatting changes or substantive updates, these are important because you don’t want the formatting of your resume to show your age.

Your resume is a marketing document to get you an interview. You need to present your best foot forward while communicating the truth about yourself. Read your resume the way an employer would, and present the value you will bring with your years of experience, without emphasizing all those years.


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