Your Resume: More than a Piece of Paper

Retiring baby boomers are rethinking jobs in retirement.  As the boomer generation faces the greatest financial challenge in the last four generations, they are looking for ways to increase their retirement income security.  Increasingly jobs for baby boomers in replacing old activities creating a new retirement reality.  Retirement costs are only one factor.  Many are searching for new challenges and a retirement career.  Regardless of the reason, a well-crafted resume is key to finding a job.

When someone starts a job search, the first thing they think of doing is completing a resume.  A good resume is a powerful tool that works as an important calling call to tell people who you are and what you do.   A resume should not read like a professional obituary, especially if you are a mature worker, but as a testimonial of what you have to offer.  At its very best, a resume will not get you a job.  It is merely one step in the process.  Do it well and it will lead the way to interviews and other important encounters.  Do it poorly and see doors shut squarely and firmly in your face.

Spell check doesn’t check it all

Check your resume for errors. Triple chick for spelling and grammatical errors.  Don’t totally depend on “spell check” to catch every error.  Have someone else proof for errors.  It’s often difficult to find our own mistakes.  Play special attention to homonyms such as; there, their, they’re; your, you’re and two, to, too.

No-no’s

Watch out for overused words.  Do not use the following words or phrases in your resume: resume, I, responsibilities, responsible for, duties, and references available upon request.  These should never appear in your resume: marital status, age, race, information about children, religion, salary history, or job references.  Avoid repeating words or phrases in your resume. If you’ve done the same task repeatedly, summarize it at the top of the page or job.

The Zen Approach

Use white space.  Make sure your resume is readable with a lot of white space.  A one-page resume is nice.   But, it’s better to have a good-looking two-page resume with white space than a cramped one page.  Does it pass the 10-second scan?  Can a potential employer read it easily and quickly?

“And Action!”

Start sentences with action verbs, such as; managed, coordinated, organized, and researched.  Example statement:  Designed office procedures; developed company policy on handling customer complaints.

The function junction

Consider a functional resume if you have large gaps in your employment history or have experience that doesn’t add up to a clear career path.  While recruiters prefer chronological resumes, a functional resume focuses more on your skills and less on your timeline.  If you don’t know how to write a functional resume,

the Damn Good Resume series by Yana Parker offers the great information on the subject. 

It’s in the past

Don’t include salary history.  Job search experts agree you shouldn’t include your salary history in your resume, even if it is requested.  It places you at a disadvantage when negotiating later on.  If a salary history is absolutely required, use a range, such as “high 30’s to low 40’s”.

A piece of art

Unlike days gone by when you typed up a resume and had it printed on nice paper, resumes of today are never done.  Resumes are always a work in progress.  Continue to evaluate and revise your resume as necessary.  Particularly if you’re a professional or exploring multiple positions, you may want to tweak your resume every time you send it off.  The sole purpose of resumes is to get interviews.  If you aren’t getting interviews, have others critique your resume.  Be willing to experiment with the content and format.

Be careful of ancient history

Be selective in the information you include in your resume.  For persons older and more experienced, don’t try to fill every bit of knowledge or experience into your resume.  Be selective by matching skills to the specific job you are applying for.  Generally, don’t go back further than ten years of experience.

Uniquely yours

As you list your job skills and knowledge, include your unique contributions and characteristics.  Comparing to others who have done your work, think about how you put your individual stamp on what you do.  Let you personality come through the resume.

You did it!

Include accomplishments in your resume.   State the problem or challenge, what you did to solve it and, if possible, quantify the results.

What’s your intention?

The objective tells the person who is reading your resume what position you are applying for.  Just state the job title.  Example: Senior Accountant for a hospital or large medical facility.  Phrases like, “Looking for an entry-level position that will use my skills and allow for growth in the company” sound dated and self-serving.  Avoid them.

If you would prefer not to list an objective in your resume, you can state it in your cover letter.  And if you are not applying for a specific job, but are inquiring, state that in the cover letter and leave the objective blank.

Your (p)reference

Select references carefully.  Select people who can specifically testify to your work skills and experience.  In addition to supervisors, also consider colleagues, clients, customers and people you supervised.  Send references your resume.  When you ask someone to be your reference, be sure to send them a copy of your resume and tell them what skills or accomplishments you’re accentuating in your job search.  Remind them of specific instances demonstrating skills or accomplishments you want them to highlight.  Keep them apprised of who you’re interviewing with and what they might expect.

Retiring baby boomers are no longer retiring in the traditional sense.  They are going from one form of work to another.  Many are dusting of resumes and getting back in the market.

 

About Cathy Severson

Cathy Severson helps baby boomers find more meaning and purpose in their lives and work. Get your copy of her complimentary e-book Guide to Retirement Activities a comprehensive look at work, volunteering and leisure based on an individuals’ personalities. Call for a complimentary 20-minute consultation to answer your most pressing concern. 928.775.4949 or email Cathy at retirementlifematters@gmail.com

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