How to Prepare a Resume That Works at Age 40, 50, or 60!

If you feel as though your age is keeping hiring managers from calling you for interviews, there are ways to revise your résumé to avoid disqualifying yourself while still capitalizing on your experience.

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to attend a national résumé writers’ conference that pinpointed the need for job seekers over 40 to be aware of how their presentation can help or hinder their job search. Here are 3 quick ways to turn a résumé challenge into an opportunity:

Challenge: Looking “too old” or “too expensive” to a younger hiring manager.

Opportunity: You likely have an abundance of great experience, so it’s crucial that you focus on what’s relevant to your target position. Don’t include more than 15 years of experience—which, shockingly, means anything before 2000. If it’s vital to include an older position, consider using the number of years rather than dates. So instead of “1989 – 1995” you would write “6 years.” Always include your education, but only list dates if it was completed in the past 5 years.

Bonus Tip: The exception to the rule is if you’re in an executive role or academic track; there is an expectation that you will include more experience.

Challenge: What if you’ve been in the same position for a long time (20+ years)?

Opportunity: Your work ethic is perceived as being stronger because of your longevity. The average tenure at a company now is 4.6 years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Companies have an outlay of money and time to onboard and train new employees, so knowing you’re more likely to stick around is valuable. To make your long track record more appealing, find a natural break when you were promoted into a different role and list your previous role as “additional experience.” Even if you moved into a similar job, for example, from “Territory Manager” to “Regional Territory Manager,” it demonstrates career progression.

Bonus Tip: What if a company you worked for has been acquired or merged and doesn’t have the same name anymore? Either list the parent company’s current name or use a slash: Century Link / Qwest.

Challenge: Employers worry about workers from older generations not getting along with their Millennial hires, and want to avoid conflict.

Opportunity: Address that fear by giving specific examples in your résumé of how you’ve successfully worked with people at the beginning of their career, and highlight new processes or technologies you’ve learned in the past 5 years. This also addresses the misconception that you won’t be trainable.

Bonus Tip: Eliminate older programs that are out of date or not commonly used anymore. This is especially important for professionals in the technology field.

If this is an area you need more support in, or if you would be interested in career counseling services, please contact us at

Article Author:  Lidonna Beer, CPRW