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 Writing a Winning “Baby Boomer” Resume

By Joe Stein

One of the Job Seeker groups who face the biggest challenge are the “Baby Boomers”.  “Baby Boomers” are defined as those born between the years 1946 and 1964, so today we are focusing on those in their late ‘40s to ‘60s years of age (although some of our tips today are fairly universal). 

If you fall into this age group, you probably have faced firsthand some of the challenges inherent in your job search.  One of the areas that usually generates the most questions and focus is the Resume. For many “Baby Boomers” who are facing a job search for the first time in years, a resume is not something that has been worked on in quite a length of time.  Let’s examine a few items you can focus on that will improve your resume and also some items to make sure to avoid.

• Have a Focus – Determine what you want to do in your remaining years of employment. This may be exactly what you have previously been doing, but for many “Baby Boomers”, self-reflection may result in a change.  One example would be, a former leader deciding that they would rather have a position on the work floor.  Making this decision early in the process will allow you to focus on positions that more align with what you want, and helps to reduce unnecessary delays.  If you are planning to make a change, make sure that you have practiced how you are going to respond to a Recruiter when asked why.

• Emphasize the Recent – It is very tempting for “Baby Boomers” to want to go back to the beginning of their career and list everything chronologically.  No one can blame you for feeling proud of all that you have accomplished.  The reality is that a Hiring Manager is probably really only interested in the last 10-15 years of your career.  This is the timeframe most relevant in the rapidly changing work world that we all live in.  Also, going too far back may serve to age date your candidacy and place you at risk for being screened out early in the process.  Avoid placing any dates on your education section, as that will serve to easily place a chronological age to your candidacy.

• Stress Adding Value – Ultimately, a Hiring Manager wants to read, in your Cover Letter and Resume, and hear, in the interview, how you are going to add value to the company.  By stressing value, you will serve to help yourself in differentiating from your competition. State how you have saved the company money, any special recognition you received, or the great ideas you shared that were implemented. 

• Choose the Right Length – An area of consternation for many “Baby Boomer” job seekers is what length the Resume should be.  A Resume that is too short may be easy for the Recruiter to review, but may not make the necessary points in order to be passed along to the Hiring Manager.  A Resume that is too long may provide lots of detail, but may prove to be unreadable for the Recruiter.  Generally speaking, a “Baby Boomer” at that level of experience will probably have enough legitimate information for a two page Resume without losing the reader’s interest.

• Use a Modern Resume – You don’t want to date yourself by not having a modern, professional Resume.  Make sure your document has been done using Microsoft Word and is free of any errors.  The document should not be just typed onto the blank page, but rather please select a resume template that will provide a more professional appearance. Your Resume should also be able to easily attach in an online application or as part of an e-mail.  Most current Resumes open with a Qualifications Summary in lieu of the Objective Statement (which tended to be very generic and not of much value).

• State Your Technology Knowledge – One of the unfortunate stereotypes sometimes faced by “Baby Boomers” is that they will lag behind in their knowledge of technology.  If you have stayed up-to-date in either equipment/machinery or software products, then this should be noted in your Resume.

Although a well written Resume is hardly a guarantee to finding employment, it will certainly help your chances.  Please make sure your Resume is updated and accurately reflects how you will add value to an organization through your skills, experience, and education.

As always, best of luck in your job search!