They say that you’re only as old as you feel. This might be true, but when it comes to crafting a winning resume, sounding younger involves more than just what you’re feeling. For those over 40, it can sometimes be difficult to compete with younger employees.
While discriminating on the basis of age is illegal, it is not easy proving that you weren’t hired because of your age. Recruiters and hiring managers are sometimes hesitant to hire older candidates because they feel these individuals might not be as open to learning new things or that they might have high salary demands.
But this doesn’t mean that landing a lucrative position is out of reach. It only means your resume needs to reflect a more youthful personality.
Lead with a summary
Much of sounding younger on your resume involves avoiding resume writing conventions that were used back in the day. For starters, you don’t want to lead with an objective at the top of your document.
Instead, it’s more fashionable to write a career summary that’s tailored toward the needs of your prospective employer. Start out by explaining how your skills and experience will benefit the company to which you are applying.
Of course, you want to make sure that the skills you are highlighting are relevant to the job description. You want to make the hiring manager think: “This is exactly what we’re looking for!”
Avoid old words and phrases
Outdated words are a dead giveaway that you’re not exactly a spring chicken.
If you’re thinking about using terms like “ideate,” “synergy,” or “interfaced,” I’ve got three words for you: Don’t. Do. It. You can look up lists of words that will make you look older so that you know what to avoid.
Focus on using terms that are more common in today’s business world. Words like “orchestrated,” “modernized,” “redesigned,” and others are better ways to communicate that you’re up to date with today’s lingo.
Make it personal
Your resume shouldn’t just include your professional experience. Give it a personal touch. Let the recruiter or hiring manager know who you are outside of work.
Include personal interests that convey youth. Hobbies like jogging, hiking, and skiing are all excellent choices. But it doesn’t only have to be physical — improv, musical instruments and other activities will also make you sound younger.
Jacob Share, founder of the Israeli job-search site JobMob wrote.
“Some employers want to get a sense of who you are outside of work, so provide some clues by listing a few hobbies or volunteer work you do,” Jacob Share, founder of the Israeli job-search site JobMob, wrote. “Also add interests that convey vitality or youthfulness, such as running or jogging, biking, fitness interests or hiking and skiing.”
Go easy on the space bar
This might seem like a small issue, but trust me, it isn’t. Do not — I repeat — do not put two spaces after a period when completing a sentence. I know this is how we did it when we were writing essays in college, but the practice has gone the way of bell-bottoms.
Doing this is a sure sign that you might not be as youthful as other candidates.
Craft a presence on social media
You don’t necessarily have to post on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram daily, but a presence on LinkedIn is a must-have for professionals of any age.
A recent survey revealed that 90% of hiring managers believe that social media is important in assessing prospective employees. When you’re applying for a position, it’s highly likely that you’ll be competing with professionals with a robust social media presence.
Create a LinkedIn profile that makes you more attractive to the companies. Customize your LinkedIn URL and include it at the top of your resume so that the recruiter can look you up and view your brilliance.
Make it easy to read
One of the worst things you can do on a resume is make it read like a doctoral thesis on thermonuclear fission. If a hiring manager has a hard time understanding what you’re trying to communicate, they’re going to take a hard pass.
Donald Burns, executive career coach and resume writer, suggested using shorter words, phrases, and paragraphs.
“Break blocks of dense text into bite-size pieces,” he wrote. “Inject a break after four repetitions of anything. For example: After four bullet points, switch to something new, like a subheading. After four lines of paragraph text, switch to bullets or a new subheading.”
You want a streamlined resume that’s easy to read.The easier it is to read your resume, the higher the chances of landing that interview.
Ditch that old-school email
If you’re using an AOL, Hotmail, or other ancient email address on your resume, you’re not doing yourself any favors. These email accounts are dead giveaways that you might not be as technically proficient as your prospective employer would like you to be. Indeed, one of the stereotypes about older workers is that they have trouble keeping up with technology.
Get a Gmail address, which is more commonly used by younger professionals. This will help you avoid being passed over for an interview by a hiring manager who might view you as out of date.
The worst thing you can put on your resume
There is one thing that you must absolutely avoid at all costs. Do not include a landline in your document.
Like old email addresses, a landline will date you quicker than a Dick Van Dyke reference. The reality is that very few people use landlines anymore. Indeed, most millennials use only their cell phones, so if you have a landline listed on your document, remove it.