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Approaching the job search as an older vet

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Are you 45, 50, 60 or older? If so, do you think your age is having a negative effect on your job search? There’s plenty you can do to minimize that and make yourself a more attractive candidate.

Don’t include all your work experience.

A résumé is not an autobiographical essay of your entire work life, but a document that showcases the most recent and most significant highlights of your career. That job from 1978? Gone. It simply doesn’t matter at this point in your job search.

It’s OK to highlight notable achievements from long ago. If you have a few select ones from decades ago, include them. Put them in a short section – a paragraph or a few bullet points – at the end of your “work experience” section. Highlight your success, but don’t include dates. In fact, you might not even include company names or a military branch if not related to your current goals.

Don’t date your education.

So many job seekers work hard to mask the number of years they’ve been working, then include the date they graduated from college, OCS or other important training. The result? You’ve defeated the purpose of consolidating your education. A résumé is not an application; you’ll be able to share that info at a later time.

Don’t include personal information and objectives.

One way to instantly communicate that you’re an “older” job seeker is to include an objective statement or personal information – birth date, marital status, hobbies. It’s old school and will instantly age you in the reader’s eye.

Include an email address. I just interacted with someone who did not have one. Her job search will go nowhere since that’s how people communicate, network, invite you for interviews and more. It’s nonnegotiable, as is a LinkedIn profile.


Wendy Enelow is co-author of “Expert Résumés for Military-to-Civilian Transitions” and “Executive Résumé Toolkit.”

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