Australians enjoy one of the highest life expectancies on the planet and reports suggest that this figure will increase over the next four years.
That means that the Aussie workforce will productively be working longer, bringing with them the valued skills, experience and insight that entail. However, there can be a stigma attached to age, which is why the date of birth is no longer necessary on resumes. Nevertheless, many workers who have achieved an extensive career are hesitant to state this in writing for fear of having a decision go against them based on age. This has the effect of putting some people off applying altogether, or to submit a resume that does not fully do justice to the applicant’s very real skills.
At Select Resumes, we are experienced in writing resumes for highly experienced clients, so we thought we would share some of the techniques that we use to even the playing field.
Firstly, do not be fearful of stating early experience if it is still relevant. There is no need to mention the dates associated with it; these can be summarised, along with older qualifications. Your aim should be to create a resume that showcases achievements that illustrate the qualities that are most valued in more mature workers – your credibility, your depth and breadth of experience, your judgment and decision-making abilities, your range of professional contacts, your work ethic and reliability, your emotional stability, and your commitment to company goals. This should go hand-in-hand with also implying that your energy, adaptability, enthusiasm and willingness to learn are still at peak levels and that you are cognisant of hierarchies that have nothing to do with age in the workplace.
We need to be strategic about your work history. For example, if you have had jobs with longevity and have risen in seniority during that time, then we will show the company, give a short descriptor, and then list your job titles in reverse chronological order, with dates. Irrespective of the number of positions held over a period of time, it is important to highlight all as they will naturally show progression. Similarly, if you earned your degree 20 years ago and began working in your current career at that point, you will actually raise questions about your age by not including your degree dates. The dates of your degree tend to eliminate age-related questions in the mind of the hirer. But if you leave the dates off, they may assume that you are hiding your age and are older than your work experience indicates.
As with all of our clients, we urge you let us know all of the major achievements and accomplishments that are unique to you and your career, as well as the particular value that you bring in to the workplace. Demonstrate precisely why, through your major achievements, that you are the perfect candidate for the job. We need to position you as someone who will provide a strong return on an employer’s investment in hiring you, and that your age will, in fact, be an advantage.
The main thing to remember is not to be afraid of highlighting all of the experience and perspective that you can bring to a role. We will make your career longevity an asset, not a liability, by creating a document to reflect your self-confidence, assurance and perspective. At the end of the day, the resume will hopefully win you an interview, at which point your age will no longer be in doubt, but by this time, you are almost at the winning post.