How to appear skill-focused and contemporary

As someone with a long work history, you’ve got the skills and expertise for high-level jobs. America has millions, yes, millions of open jobs that require skilled workers like you to fill them. But your long years of work experience also might send up red flags for hiring managers. Baby Boomers and other older workers might be perceived to be lacking skills.

Age discrimination is illegal, but evidence suggests that it’s harder to find a job after 40, and that it gets even harder as you get older. But that doesn’t mean your skills aren’t needed. They most certainly are. Getting a new job with a long work history means just selling the usefulness—and rarity—of your skills. Here, we’ll give you a few tips about how to format your long and distinguished resume.

Use a two-page resume

A good rule of thumb is that each page of your resume should contain 10 years of experience. Since you have 20 or more years of experience, you can expand your resume to two pages. But if you’re going to have a long resume, it should be tailored to the particular job you want and should only include relevant experience. Remember, recruiters only spend an average of 10 seconds scanning a resume. So, if you still have an ice cream scooping job from 15 years ago on your resume, it’s time to take it off.

Use a hybrid resume format.

A hybrid resume lets you focus on your skills, rather than going into a long chronology of your work history that can be difficult for applicant tracking systems (ATS) and hiring managers to read. A hybrid resume begins with a section summarizing your qualifications, followed by professional accomplishments, key skills, and work history. Using measurable data and highlighting information and skills relevant to the current job makes your resume compelling and concise.

Tailor your skill set to contemporary keywords.

ATS scans your resume for keywords that exactly match the words used in the job description. You very well may have many or all of the skills that the job description requires, but if you haven’t applied for a job for a while, you may not be using keyword optimization. In other words, your language might not match the keywords in the job description, even if your skills are the same.

Don’t let your skills be overlooked because they don’t match a job description’s keywords. Jobscan’s resume optimization tool lets you scan the job description and your resume to make sure your resume’s keywords match exactly. If you aren’t using the right keywords for a job, you can change your resume to include the skill-equivalent words the company is looking for.

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James Hu

James Hu is the founder and CEO of Jobscan, a web tool that helps job seekers land interviews by optimizing resume keywords.

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