If you’re thinking about switching careers or entering back into the workforce, as a baby boomer, there may be something deep within you that is a bit hesitant. Indeed, we are living in a time when the economic is still pretty challenging, the unemployment rate is still fairly high and technology demands that people stay current with the times.
However, if you do have a pretty solid work history, one of the things that you definitely have on your side (and in your favor) is experience; nothing that be an adequate substitute for a real on-the-job background.
So, don’t be afraid. Now is the time to pull out your old resume and do some fine-tuning. After all, in most cases, the first thing that potential employees see is not you, but your resume. If it’s well-received, an interview can’t be far behind:
Get rid of your old resume. By this, we don’t necessarily mean the content, but definitely the layout. For a lot of employers who have to look through dozens of resumes on a consistent basis, there is nothing worse than looking at one that appears old and dated. If you’re not a natural at creating resumes, you might want to ask a college student that you are close to for help. Or, you can check out resume templates online by going to your favorite search engine and putting “resume templates” in the search field.
Make sure that your headings are clear and current. Have you ever heard someone say that you have to make sure that when you write a report or story that the first paragraph is really important because that is what will determine if you hold a reader’s attention or not? This is the same thing to think about when writing up headings for your resume. For instance, if you want to change jobs in the same career-field, you should have “Work Experience” listed first. On the other hand, if you plan to change careers altogether, then you should list your “Education” first.
Be succinct. You probably already know that a resume should not be more than a page long, but if you have a fairly long work history, you might be finding it hard to condense all of your information. On your resume, the amount of time that you have spent on the job (or jobs) should really not go back more than 10 years (unless you remained at one place for a really long period of time). You can simply put “more information available upon request” after that point.
Be vague about gaps in time. If you are someone who is returning to work after several years of not being (officially) in the workforce, you might be tempted to supply a lengthy explanation as to why that was the case. It’s really best to not provide a lot of details. You can simply put something like “pursued education” or “did freelance work” or even “took a personal sabbatical”. If they want to know more, they can inquire directly during your interview.
Don’t forget about a cover letter. These days, since most things are done electronically, it’s a good idea to send a cover letter along with your resume. Whether you’re looking for a contracted position (www.umbrellacompanies.org.uk has some great info on freelance jobs) or something that is full-time, focus on expressing how excited you are to work within the field, the knowledge and experience that you can bring to the job and the willingness to learn more. Most employers can’t help but to give that kind of cover letter a second (or third) glance.