Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Baby Boomers, Beware! Don't Let Your Resume Date You!

If you're a job-seeker of the Baby Boom generation, you may be feeling a little left out by the job market. You're certainly not ready to retire, but the young recruiters you send resumes to don't seem to respond to your skills and experience. If you're experiencing symptoms of age discrimination, you should know that your resume could be the culprit, categorizing you as out of date and over the hill.

There are three ways your resume can put you in the over the hill category. Your resume is due for an update if it contains:

  1. Outdated technology skills
  2. Outdated industry or occupational terminology
  3. Outdated resume trends

Don't despair if your resume is out of date. You can perform an extreme resume makeover by using the tips below.

1. Make sure you are up to date on your industry's technology. Check multiple job descriptions within your industry to see what technologies employers really want. Determine which technologies are missing from your resume. Then decide what you need to learn or do to fill that technology gap. Consider adult-education classes, college classes, or even online learning.

You should be aware that technology terms are often used as keywords to filter the best resumes from electronic databases. If your resume doesn't have them, it may never be seen. Make sure your technology skills aren't leaving you behind.

2. Make sure your resume is using current terminology. If you have just been adding to the same old resume over the years, then your early entries may be using outdated terms. One way to bring your resume up to date is through publications from your industry's professional associations. If you don't belong to any professional associations, you might be missing out on the latest industry-speak.

Another good resource is job descriptions. Search job descriptions in your field for recurring terms. Learn to use the current terminology for your industry correctly and effectively.

3. Make sure your resume reflects today's trends in resume format and style. Some of the old resume rules just don't apply any more. For example:

Old Rule: Limit your resume to one page. New Approach: This is a really old idea that limits your ability to show all of your skills and expertise.

Old Rule: End your resume with References Available Upon Request. New Approach: You don't need to say that; it's assumed.

Old Rule: You should show every job you have ever held and give each equal importance. New Approach: Your employment history should only go back as far as it related to your current employment objectives. Think of your resume as a marketing piece that highlights the best parts rather than as a tell-all.

Old Rule: Your resume should go back no more than 10 years. New Approach: Don't use an arbitrary number to determine how much to include on your resume. Use the rule of relevancy to decide how many of your jobs to include.

Old Rule: One resume should handle everything. New Approach: Not anymore! In addition to tailoring your resume to different fields or industries, you'll also need to tailor the way that you save it.

You'll want to have a standard Word format (for printouts and as email attachments), and a plain text version for online forms, which will save you a lot of time in repairing lost formatting, which often occurs when cutting and pasting a Word document into a text-only form.

Let your experience work for you rather than against you. Using these tips to update your resume can make a noticeable difference in interest from employers. And your new resume will be a better reflection of your hard-earned skills, talents, and expertise.

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