There are two groups of people who are having an extra hard time finding a job right now : teens with no job experience, and older workers who have too much. Here's what we're hearing from older job seekers:
"My resume is two pages in length, but covers all the jobs that I have had for the last 15 years. My question is: Am I being told that I am overqualified due to my age?" - Lori W.
"I closed my business and have been seeking part time or full time employment . Since last March, I have not been called in for any job after submitting my resume. I am not sure if it is because those employers think I am overqualified, or I am being discriminated against due to my age?" - Irvina G.
It's illegal to discriminate against older workers solely because of their age. But if you're an experienced worker who can't get a job, the problem might be your online job seeker profile or resume. What you write can give employers the impression that you're overqualified, that your skills are outdated, or that you don't really want the job. Here's how to write a resume that will give you an edge in your job search.
1. Shorten your employment history.
If you have extensive work experience, focus only on your most recent, most relevant jobs in your resume or online profile . We sometimes see job seekers who include things like:
- 1981-1983: Waitress, The Big Hawg Biker Bar
This job is ancient history. It doesn't tell the employer anything about your current skills. Take it out!
2. Summarize your skills.
Another mistake we see on resumes and profiles is including a long list of short-term jobs, like this:
- 1993-1994: Sales Associate, Macy's
- 1994-1995: Sales Associate, Kohl's
- 1996-1998: Sales Associate, Michaels
Most employers just want to know that you have retail experience; they don't care where you worked 15 years ago. Plus, you don't want to look like a job hopper. So here's a shortcut: in your profile or resume, add only your five most recent jobs or jobs you've worked in the last 10 years (whichever number is smaller). Then use the "Tell us about yourself" section (or cover letter) to summarize the others, like this:
"I have five years of experience in retail working for companies like Macy's, Kohl's and Michaels."
3. Edit your education.
If you have a graduate degree in history but you're just looking for a part-time retail job, it's probably wiser to take that advanced degree off your profile or resume. Why? Because employers may think that you're overqualified for the job, and they'll assume you're going to leave as soon as something better comes along.
4. Don't include graduation dates!
In your Snagajob profile, we don't ask you when you graduated from college or high school. But you'd be surprised by how many people include dates in their resumes:
- Eastern High School, 1976
- University of Tennessee, 1965-1969
No matter how old you are, there's no need to tell employers your age. Take off the year.
5. Don't add details about your family and personal life to your resume.
Don't tell employers that you're married (or divorced), that you have two wonderful children, or that you enjoy scrapbooking and bowhunting. Such details aren't relevant and make you seem out of touch.
6. Make it clear that you really want the job.
In the "Tell us about yourself" section of your profile, or in a cover letter attached to your resume, tell employers what they want to hear: that you're an energetic, motivated and highly skilled employee who's very interested in a position in retail (or restaurants, or healthcare - whatever you're looking for).
Good luck with your job search!