Revamp your resume

6 Ways to Revamp Your Resume After 40

Your resume is your calling card for a new job. You’ve got to check the boxes on relevancy for the positions you desire, and be sure it depicts the personal brand you want for yourself. You need to focus on showing what you can give  beyond what you bring to the table. If your resume just ain’t cutting it, it’s time to give it a head-to-toe redo.

You’re over forty and an experienced professional. Not to be harsh, the days of entry-level resumes are in your rear-view mirror – gone with the first half of your life. If you need to revamp that resume now, then look at these six ways to change your resume from top to bottom. If followed, I can guarantee your resume will be fresh and polished for whatever comes next.

  1. Bring your personal information into the 21st century. I can’t quite understand why any job seeker doesn’t have a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is relevant and where pretty much every recruiter hangs out to troll for candidates. It is full of information regarding the organizations job seekers are interested in, open positions, and the kind of talent that works there. Get yourself on it and make a good professional profile (i.e., complete with your job experience, a professional-looking photo, relevant skills, interests, etc.). Create some connections with current and former colleagues, follow some organizations or people, and then post that LinkedIn handle of yours at the top of your resume along with your other personal information such as your address, phone number, and email. LinkedIn is the only acceptable social media handle; your resume is not the place to post others such as Facebook or Instagram.
  2. Your top paragraph should no longer be about what you want; rather, it should be about who you are. It used to be acceptable to have a short introductory paragraph at the top of your resume called, “Expectations” that summed up what you want from an employer. Things like “I want an organization where I can grow my career and use my skills and background, blah blah blah”. This section has ceased to exist and over the past decade or longer, the term “Summary” has been coined. The summary paragraph should delineate what you bring to the table: maybe the number of years’ experience you have, the industries worked in, types of organizations, key areas of expertise, and professional strengths. Think of it like this: if recruiters read your summary section only, will they get a good idea of what you offer? If not, you’ve missed your first opportunity to hook the reader into wanting to know more about you.
  3. Your education doesn’t really matter. I mean, it does for roles that require a minimum education. In these circumstances, you need to prove that you have it, and listing it on your resume is important. But trust me, it’s not so important that it needs to be one of the first things encountered. Talk about your experience before you mention what school you attended and what degree you earned. Also, if you haven’t realized it by now, nobody really cares about GPA or graduation year, so please remove these from the education section. Not only do both make you seem like that a recent college grad who has nothing to put on her resume, but they could introduce a lot of unwanted potential bias – and who has time for that.
  4. Highlight your experience, but please spare the details of everything you’ve ever done. The last thing anyone wants when reviewing a resume is to read a never-ending laundry list of all the jobs and responsibilities any candidate has ever had. Review the list for each position and eliminate redundancies. Aim to include 5-7 key bullets for the most critical duties fulfilled. You can always share more in the interview. Also, if your experience doesn’t match the position, then remove it. For example, say you are searching for a job as an accountant and you have 15 years’ worth of finance experience, and then one year after your last child was born, you worked as a florist. It has no bearing on what you are searching for and just seems weird and honest.
  5. Show your impact. We often overlook this as one of the easiest things to update a resume. Highlighting results you helped achieve or positive outcomes will show the value you bring. Employers eat that stuff up. Don’t just list that you led a project; share its impact on simplifying the work, saving money, increasing revenue, or other important company metric. If you helped reduce the number of days needed to complete a major processor and found a more cost-effective system, that’s major in an employer’s eyes, and you need to let the person know.
  6. Eliminate the fluff at all costs. You know that section at the end of the resume where you list all your special skills and tell people you have references who can speak about your work. Delete it. If there is a specific, unique technical requirement or system that you need to highlight, weave it into one of the experience bullets (see # 4 above). But please stop telling everyone that you are proficient in Microsoft Word, are organized, a team player, and have excellent communication skills. Anyone can say these things. Plus, saying that you’ll provide references upon request is stating the obvious. None of these items is special; they are table stakes and serve little to no purpose, while taking up space on your resume.

Now that you know what to do to give your resume an extreme makeover, do it! Let the beauty shine through just like you.

Downloadable resume template

Check out this resume template to use in revamping your resume using the 6 tips above.

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Julie Brendich
Julie is the owner of Harmony & Success Personal Coaching, LLC. She’s a long-time leadership development expert having spent over 20 years working in multiple industries, helping leaders become more effective and successful. She works with clients on the wisdom of the “Midlife Awakening” and how it can be the catalyst for massive, positive life transformation in not just their careers but also in their most precious relationships, self-care, and spirituality. She holds advanced degrees in psychology and is credentialed as a Master Spirit Life Coach and Certified Professional Coach through the International Coaching Federation. A midwestern native from the suburbs of Chicago, Julie approaches the coaching process with her clients in a down-to-earth way where each client can be their true selves. It is her life’s purpose and biggest joy to help midlife women achieve their goals.
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