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How to Promote Volunteerism on Your Executive Resume

How to Promote Volunteerism on Your Executive Resume

Updated May 27, 2018

I received an interesting question that actually mirrors a question I get from my private clients quite a lot: Can I use volunteer work on a resume? This individual wanted to know whether hiring managers like what she has done, or will they consider it fluff? Her story is much like those of many who have experienced a gap in their career histories, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. This person has all the hallmarks of a top hire: She’s a college graduate, super smart, well-read, is a true knowledge seeker and seeker of truth, and has led major organizations with multiple reporting layers. Unsurprisingly, she sounds like many of the executives with whom I have worked over the years.  How can she promote her career history on her resume, even though the majority of her work has been in volunteer roles?

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How will you promote your volunteerism on your executive resume?

First and foremost, it’s important to recognize as an article of faith that work is work, even if it’s unpaid. Never lose sight of the fact that what you do every day has relevance for your job search strategy, because you’re doing something important and valuable.  And exploring what you like about the various volunteer roles you have had can help you narrow down your career target as well.

Examples of this type of volunteer work from which your resume can benefit can include:

  • Sitting on the board of a non-profit institution.
  • Volunteering at a church or synagogue.
  • Leading programs as part of your child’s PTA.
  • Organizing an event, such as a food drive or fun run.
  • Serving as a Boy Scout or Girl Scout guide.
  • Coaching a sports team.

There are, of course, many other types of volunteerism that can bolster your job application process. The crucial thing to remember is that you must couch your leadership contributions and your accomplishments in the same way that you account for them with your regular paid positions. Remember, work is work, even if it’s unpaid.

Let’s look at a few possibilities in which volunteerism can amplify your executive resume and your executive job search strategy overall.

Volunteerism that Supports Your Return to the Workforce

The first possibility is that you have been out of the workforce for a while, whether for family obligations, layoff, sabbatical, travel, or any other reason you’ve chosen to take yourself away from your career for some extended period of time. Now that it’s time to go back to paid work, you need to capture and organize your volunteer work to showcase its value.

To execute on this well, you should include volunteer roles as actual in-line work experience, and you’re not obligated to reveal the exact amount you were paid or not paid to do the work. The process of describing what you did every day and the successes you created are just as valuable – if you can prove that your expertise parallels the knowledge and experience that your career target requires.

Write down all of your volunteer work and the ways in which you improved or added to the organization. The categories of expertise can be leadership and management, financial responsibility, operational expertise, sales of ideas / services / goods, marketing, and more. These are exactly the types of knowledge and proven ability that your future audience needs to know you have, and they are subject to the challenge-action-result strategy that you’ve heard me talk about before in many other podcasts on this show. I’m not going to go in to the CAR strategy here, but rest assured that you can use the challenge-action-result method even when the work you have done is unpaid.

Each of these volunteer roles, and the promotions to leadership you might have experienced as well, become “jobs” in your resume, and they should be listed exactly the same way as your paid work is detailed. You make absolutely no distinction between your former paid work and your volunteer work, because they both are strongly reflective of the expertise your future hiring executive needs you to have to be successful in the role to which you’re applying.

Volunteerism that Supplements Your Ongoing Paid Work

A second flavor of using volunteerism on your resume is useful when you have had a largely intact career timeline but want to add to your career history some skills and expertise that your paid work doesn’t demonstrate.

Including volunteer work on a professional resume can be a critical way of ensuring that a hiring manager understands the full flavor of your experience. For example, your professional career might be a greased rail to success, but it might lack a specific dimension that you need to promote. By highlighting your volunteer experience, you can show that you have many types of expertise, not just the kind that you get paid for day to day.

Let’s say that you are a senior vice president of finance, and you want to demonstrate your expertise in operations and team leadership, so that you can move into a broader role, perhaps a chief financial officer position. You might offer up your recent work as the chair of a committee for a local nonprofit, a role you’ve held for several years. You then describe the scope and value of that work, for example, how you fulfilled the mission of the organization through the role, how many people you guided to that goal, and how you overcame multiple challenges along the way.

Volunteer Work as the Basis for Your References

Last, your volunteer roles can serve as a source of references for you. If you had any type of reporting relationship with leaders of a volunteer organization, it’s a good idea to ask them to write you a letter of recommendation on the organization’s letterhead commenting on your contributions. These people can also become excellent sources of references when you need to give names and numbers to interviewers of people who can vouch for your excellent work ethic, ability to organize projects and teams, and so on. These leaders likely will know you well and be able to describe your success and contributions to their organizations, and, because you have done an incredible job, they are going to be willing to share a few words with your future hiring executive as well.

Examples of the types of individuals who might serve as excellent references from your volunteer work include:

  • The executive team of the group to which you donated your time and expertise.
  • Event leaders, when you directed a portion of the event.
  • Co-organizers, who can comment on your excellent team spirit and ability to motivate the group.
  • Your direct report team.
  • A beneficiary of a nonprofit event.

To conclude, your professional paid work history is not the only type of work that belongs on your resume. By putting your volunteer work on a resume, you can expand on and elaborate on what makes you special and what makes you unique and the only one who can do what you do in the way that you do it. In short, volunteer work on your professional resume enhances your brand.

What Will the Resume Look Like in Ten Years?

What Will the Resume Look Like in Ten Years?

Over the past ten years, many elements of the resume have changed. That’s not to say that the professional resume hasn’t continually evolved since its creation, which is attributable to Leonardo da Vinci. The resume is a document subject to evolution, just like everything else. With every new piece of technology, an aspect of the resume changes. What exactly is different in the way resumes are written now versus how they were written ten years ago? What does that mean for resumes in the future?

One-does-all vs. One-for-one

One resume used to be enough. You would have one resume crafted, generic in content, listing your previous jobs and responsibilities. Numerous copies of that resume would be printed on expensive resume paper and it was used for every job application. Employers would receive applications from roughly ten people per post and take the time to review each resume. That isn’t the case now. Each job you apply to should have a variation of your resume with no repeats, the exception being applications to the exact position with other companies. However, more than likely, there will be keywords that differ from company to company. With the way resumes are now submitted, electronically, companies might receive hundreds of applications per post. It is easy for employers to weed out applicants with some type of resume-screening software, making keywords necessary. The software will eliminate applicants who don’t meet the keywords, narrowing the applicant pool. Some companies may still review each resume by hand, but customization is still important.

Method of Submission

Resumes have been sent by every method – snail mail, fax, email, donut delivery – and that will probably not change. In the past, you sent your resume by snail mail, waiting to hear back from the hiring manager once they have personally reviewed it. Now, email and online job application submission are the most common method of resume acceptance. Hiring managers typically use a hard-copy of the resume to take notes during the actual interview, which could change with the use of a tablet in the future, but that seems an unlikely progression given the interview environment. Having an online presence is necessary and can increase your chances of being asked to interview. The challenge lies in how you present yourself and through what type of online resource – portfolio, LinkedIn profile, website, etc.

Duties and Accomplishments

Your resume, at one point in your career, was a conglomeration of all your past jobs, the skills you needed for each one, and what duties you performed. However, there is such a thing as too much information. The current practice is to provide all relevant information that pertains to the job you’re applying to. As mentioned earlier, you will accumulate resumes specific to certain types of jobs and may have many versions of the same information. You will also leave out past positions that aren’t relevant, like the very first job you had waiting tables or cashiering.

Leaving out the irrelevant gives you room to expand upon your expertise in your field, including major accomplishments and special training. Highlight what you know best and show the employers what you can do. Minimizing the fluff in your resume will benefit you in the long run because most hiring managers use software to analyze resumes. The software is designed to recognize keywords within the resume and weed out applicants.

Personal Touches

While you should make yourself stand out from the crowd, you don’t want to overshare personal details to your potential new employers. It was common to add personal statements with details like your age, marital status, children, hobbies, religion, or even a photograph. Now, employers really don’t want to see information unless it is directly related to the job – they would actually prefer not to know personal details. Personal details on a resume leave the employer in a tricky situation because they could then be accused of discrimination based on those personal interests, your appearance, or affiliations. Really, the rule of thumb here is: When in doubt, leave it out.

You do want to be unique, but it should be shown through what you can do for that employer. Portfolios, websites, and social media create the whole picture for an employer. We are living in an age of technology where nearly every document can be forged – saying things or having them on your resume isn’t necessarily enough. If you say you can do something, you need to be prepared to demonstrate your talents.

The Only Constant Is Change

Proper grammar and spelling are the only things that will never change when it comes to a professional resume or document. What will resumes look like in our future? There is no guaranteed response to this, but predictions are welcome. Will we move to only using social media, like LinkedIn, as our means of job application and personal representation? It is always possible to move back to a simpler representation of the resume, however unlikely. Looking back through the history of resume evolution, dating back five centuries, it would be unlikely that a professional resume would stop being part of the job application process, but what it will look like is still a bit of a mystery.

Remember, the only constant in this world is change.

 

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor
Photo attributed to Stuart Miles of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
A Resume: Not Just for Job Search

A Resume: Not Just for Job Search

A Resume: Not Just for Job Search

Resumes display your accomplishments, are your marketing tools, and are the foundation of your brand. While keeping yours up-to-date can be painstaking or time-consuming, doing so is important. You never know when you will need your resume. Not only do you need it if, worst-case scenario, you are in the market for a new job or career path, but resume writing can help you reflect on your professional development and even prepare for your next annual review.A Resume: Not Just for Job Search

Why should you update your resume?

Simply put, life is fluid and your resume should show every change you find important. If you only update the document when you’re looking for a job, you could sell yourself short. Taking the time to write down all of your accomplishments will give you an edge when you actually need your resume. Think of it more like a list of completed tasks than a dictation of your skills:

  • Presentations, Conferences, Interviews

You may be asked to or want to present at a conference, publish any of your work, or sit for an interview. Providing the media or conference organizer with your resume will back up your information. Then, you can add that experience to your resume!

  • Nominations

Colleagues can nominate you for awards, but your resume usually needs to be presented to the awards committee for validation. An up-to-date resume will reveal all of your achievements in a way you are confident and comfortable with. Waiting until asked will result in a rush to fix that years old resume and scrambling to come up with something that won’t represent yourself well.

  • Freelance work

While you might not be looking for a new job or career, you may decide to pick up side jobs. Freelancing is a good way to earn some spending money and add on to your skill set. However, most contracted work requires a current resume.

  • Recruiters

If you keep your social media (LinkedIn) up to date as well, a recruiter might reach out to you. Your skills and experience draw attention. Recruiters look for the best fit candidates despite job standing. Of course, you can turn down any offers or ignore recruiters, but keep that resume recent on the off chance you might be interested.

  • Promotion at your current workplace

Promotion opportunities don’t become available often. If your resume is current, you can apply for that promotion quickly, without having to take the time to change it.

Put yourself in the employer’s shoes

When creating your resume, think about what an employer wants to see. What are they looking for and what experiences will set you apart from other potential candidates? Resumes are a snapshot of you as a person and most employers spend about ten seconds perusing a resume unless they find something worth further inspection. Electronic documents are used much more often than paper, so keep that in mind. If your resume looks like everyone else’s, it will be treated in kind. Employers also appreciate consistency. When taking the time to recent your resume, be consistent — meaning don’t just update LinkedIn if your resume is posted on several other social media profiles. And take the time to tailor it to a job you are interested in. If you want to highlight your skills for one job but experience for another, create different copies of your resume to that effect.

Think about your resume like a long-term career management tool. When you sit down to update it, you have the opportunity to examine your personal values, communication-style, and experiences to display them in a manner that will set yourself apart from your competition. It is a great way to highlight all of your experiences and reflect on where you’ve been to how far you’ve come in your career. Using a resume to reflect on all of your positions and skills gives you an opportunity to be confident in your abilities and know exactly of what you are capable. Even if you aren’t currently looking for a job, you should keep it as up-to-date as possible. Don’t wait until you need a resume, keep one on hand for worst-case scenarios or if you are pursuing a step up in your career field.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor
Image by phasinphoto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Your Professional Resume Shows Your Authority—and Builds Great Resume SEO

Your Professional Resume Shows Your Authority—and Builds Great Resume SEO

More answers to Top 5 Resume Mistakes That Say “Don’t Hire Me”.

“Responsible for” Is Not Good Resume Writing

The question of whether a job seeker is “responsible for” something is old news for resume writers. We know not to include that type of language. It’s boring. It doesn’t describe anything active or with an outcome. It sounds like a copy-and-paste from the person’s human resources job posting. I am not going to retread that information. If you want more about that, see this article on 7 Words You Can’t Say in a Resume. It’s always been one of my favorite—and most popular—posts. I’m not going to retread it here.

Resume SEO Means Fewer, More Powerful Language

Resume SEO—a new phrase that is hitting the forefront and capturing the attention of career coaches and professional resume writers alike. Job seekers, too, need to pay attention to resume SEO. One of the best ways you as a job seeker can do this is by making sure that your resume language has power per total words. That’s not an actual measure, of course, but it should give you something to think about as you review your own resume language.

Resume SEO for Applicant Tracking Systems

Preptel.com has cornered the market on this strategy. The service enables job seekers to upload their resume and compare it to job postings, word for word. This is what a good professional resume writer does with hand and brain, but the challenge remains the same. Job seeker resumes need to have the right language within the text, so that they are picked up by human resources applicant tracking systems (think: online applications) via the search algorithms that pull up potential candidates. In simpler terms, a marketing executive resume isn’t going to be selected for an electrical engineering position—the phrases that describe a marketing executive simply don’t apply to the technical aspects of electrical engineering. In more complex terms, a marketing executive resume needs to have specific phrases that will be picked up by the search engine algorithm as matches for what a job posting is looking for.

Resume SEO for Human Readers

On the other hand, some humans—Salt Lake City, Utah recruiters, hiring managers of small businesses, and others—do read resumes with their own eyes. The more focused the language is and the more relevant the wording is, the more likely that human will evaluate the resume more closely. Fluffy, nonspecific language won’t make the grade, but highly technical, relevant wording will impress these very human brains with very specific problems they need to solve with a new hire.

What Does Resume SEO Have to Do with “Responsible for”?

SEO in broad terms can be thought of as having the right language in the right place for the right reader. Resume SEO is the same, as I explained above. Job seekers who use “responsible for” in every bullet of their resumes are adding two times the number of total bullets more words than are necessary—which dilutes the value of the words that are in there that are relevant. Simply by removing the words that a) add no technical value (again see 7 Words You Can’t Say in a Resume) and b) are simply fluffy extras will dilute your resume’s total impact on a hiring manager, recruiter, or applicant tracking system.

 

Learn why your executive resume isn’t making the cut: Top 5 Resume Mistakes That Say “Don’t Hire Me”

Including an Objective Statement: The Resume Killer

In an earlier post about resume mistakes, I mentioned that including an objective in your professional resume is a kiss of death. Hiring managers do not know you, do not care about you, and do not want to know you. So writing anything that starts with “I want” is going to kill your nascent relationship with the hiring manager, who does not care that you like people, communicate well, or want to increase your responsibilities.

Your job is to make hiring managers want to read your professional resume and learn something special about you. They want to know what makes you different and what makes you the right one for the job.

You can make that happen with by nixing the objective statement and overhauling your resume with a branding statement that blows your reader away. Remember, all hiring managers are hoping that the resume they are reading now is owned by their next great hire. All you have to do is convince them that you are the right one and make them want to pick up the phone and dial your cell.

Does this sound intimidating?

Write for Your Audience While Writing about You

The easiest solution to the problem of why an objective statement is the worst opener for a great resume begins with your sitting down with yourself and asking yourself what makes you great.

Your answers to that very general question must be very specific. They have to address your specific history and your specific abilities and skills. Some examples of these answers can include the following.

  • You drive $X revenue per year
  • You manage distributed teams for a global company
  • You have the reputation of being the go-to expert on some critical industry topic
  • You find revenue when the economy is down by increasing wallet share
  • You build operations departments for car dealerships in the deep south where the organizational silos divide every employee into either “parts” or “service.”

What You Have to Do Now

Of course, these are only examples. You can’t copy these for your own resume. Why not? Because these are made-up examples. They refer to nobody in particular, certainly not you. A famous person once said that the right answer is usually the most difficult, costly, and frustrating.

You have to pick up a pencil and pad and start to brainstorm about what makes you great. That is the only answer. But when you finally have that answer, and you are confident that the words represent you the way you want to portray your brand of excellence, you will start to notice something remarkable that might not have happened before.

Your phone will start to ring.

Your professional resume will start to get you those interviews you have been after, because you are starting to show the value that you offer to a hiring manager. You will show in your professional resume that you have done A, B, and C before, and you are likely to be able to achieve those types of results again.

Learn why your executive resume isn’t making the cut: Top 5 Resume Mistakes That Say “Don’t Hire Me”

Top 5 Resume Mistakes That Say “Don’t Hire Me”

Top 5 Resume Mistakes That Say “Don’t Hire Me”

Including an Objective Statement

Your professional resume is all about you, right? Therefore, your objective is all about you, too. However, you’re sending your professional resume to a hiring manager—you’re not reading it to yourself in the echo chamber. And guess who the hiring manager wants to think most about? Himself (or herself). Not you.

Here’s my answer: Including an Objective Statement: The Resume Killer.

Telling the Hiring Manager that You Were “Responsible”

When I see the word “responsible” on a resume, I often chuckle to myself that this has to be a copy-and-paste from an HR job description. Human Resources always wants employees to be “responsible” for some task or solution. However, we never know if the job applicant’s resume indicates that the job seeker was merely responsible for something. Did that professional actually do something? Or was that person simply “responsible” for it, never getting around to achieving it.

Here’s my answer: Your Professional Resume Shows Your Authority—and Builds Great Resume SEO

Putting Your Education before Your Experience

Sometimes, I see executive resumes, or even resumes of experienced professionals, that include decades-old college education in the first line or two of the resume. Clearly, these job seekers must not think much of their professional experience or executive leadership. Why else would they focus on what most hiring leaders would consider a given?

Here’s my answer: Education Goes Last on a Professional or Executive Resume

Including Your High School Diploma

When your Salt Lake City professional resume promotes your high school education, you’re wasting valuable space on your resume. If you have at least one job after high school, any college education at all, or some post-high school technical training, your hiring manager is assuming that you have attended high school. What if you didn’t graduate high school? I’ve written executive resumes in Salt Lake City for senior vice presidents who did not finish high school, or who have obtained their GEDs. Your chances of success aren’t limited by your lack of education—in some cases, going straight to work shows an incredible work ethic. Either way, we don’t need to know about your high school education.

Here’s my answer: Resume Strategies for Executives Who Never Went to College

Poor Resume Design that Makes Your Executive Resume Unreadable

Ever try to read the fine print on a 30-second TV commercial? It’s impossible, because the advertiser typically does not want you to read the fine print. So why would you send a resume in to a hiring manager in 8-point type? Other common blunders include using resume bullet points that are really paragraphs, and paragraphs that should be broken into three paragraphs.

Here’s my answer: Five Easy Steps to Executive Resume Readability

Bonus Mistake #6: Pink Ink and Red Paper

Once, as a child, I wrote my grandmother a letter. In childish handwriting, I scrawled red letters across pink paper. She immediately called me and told me never to use red ink on pink paper, because it was completely unreadable. The same holds true for your professional resume: Do not use red ink (or blue ink, or brown ink, or yellow ink), and do not use pink paper (or blue paper, or green paper). Stick to basic black ink and basic white, cream, or gray paper.

 

The Free Job Search: Find a Job Quickly Without Spending a Lot of Cash

The Free Job Search: Find a Job Quickly Without Spending a Lot of Cash

I am constantly amazed at how much people are willing to spend on what they think will help them get a job. They assume, wrongly, that they can find a job more quickly if they throw money at the problem. Let’s set up a job search budget that you can use to help you find a job quickly without overspending your shoestring budget.

Whether it’s because of the economy or because of individual job seekers’ situations, I hear it all the time: I don’t have the money to spend on my job search. Let’s break down the costs of your job search and help you define your boundaries to get you to your new job quickly.

No Money §
photo credit: Alina Sofia

Essentials for a Free Job Search

  1. Free use of a computer. If you are not searching for jobs online and using e-mail intelligently, you are putting yourself out of the game. Luckily, most public libraries have computers that are free for the public to use. Printing on their printers costs very little, perhaps $.10 to $.25 per page. They often have open source software, which you can use to save your documents in Microsoft Word, the document format of choice.
  2. Free email. You don’t need to pay a service to get great e-mail. Sign up for a professional email account with Yahoo!, Gmail, or Hotmail. You can access this account from any computer connected to the Internet.
  3. Free job clubs. Most cities these days have job clubs that are run by experts in job search. These might meet monthly or more frequently, and they might be run in a church, synagogue, public library or community center. They all give their participants a chance to learn new strategies about job searching and opportunities for networking.
  4. Free resume assistance. You can get free resume assistance in person from your local Workforce Services in addition to the myriad other services they provide. If you need samples of excellent resumes that got people the interviews they want, then sign up here http://eepurl.com/cGxMo for my free e-book on resumes and cover letters that got the interviews.
  5. Your local Department of Workforce Services. Get free advice on job search, access to job opportunities in the public and private sector, and free assistance with job search tools.
  6. Your personal network. Reach out to 10 people every day; ask them about what they do in an informational interview. Ask for recommendations from them for additional people to connect with via LinkedIn or on the phone.
  7. If you’re a relatively recent graduate, your professors. Many academics have close ties with industry. See about getting in on a research project or securing a critical introduction from a trusted academic mentor.

Are Free Professional Resume Writing Services Worth It?

As for free professional resume writing services? Don’t expect much from them. Only hire an expert to do the complex work of crafting your personal and professional brand in a resume. In other words, don’t waste your money on the cheap resumes that don’t work. Ask for credentials, such as the Certified Advanced Resume Writer credential, which I have (in addition to an MBA and Master of Arts in publishing). Successful professional resume writing is not cheap, and it’s not free. But it is likely cheaper in the long run than it will cost you day by day to delay your deserved success.

What free job search tools do you recommend to job seekers?

Wondering How to Get a Job Fast? Six Tips to Focus Your Job Search

Wondering How to Get a Job Fast?

Six Tips to Focus Your Job Search

If you’re wondering how to get a job fast, you need to stop spinning your wheels and start focusing. Here are 6 tips on how to focus your job search so you can get the right job quickly.

  1. Hire a professional resume writing service. Your first impression has to be 100% perfect. If you’re not confident that you can write a resume that makes the phone ring, call a professional resume writer to get the job done. The money you spend will pay itself back in job search speed and increased salary.
  2. Stop sending out dozens of resumes. No local market has tens or dozens or hundreds of jobs that are right for you. You might find 3 or 4 in a day’s research, but certainly not more than that. Stop wasting time sending out resumes for jobs that you a) are not interested in, and b) you’re not qualified for.
  3. Join a job club. Networking is hard for job seekers, even for the savviest among you. By joining a job club, either locally or virtually, you’ll find there is a support structure that can help you overcome the difficulties of introducing yourself and communicating your needs effectively. Job clubs also often have the benefit of being led by experts in job search.
  4. Cold call one or two people you don’t know who have jobs similar to the one you are targeting. Politely request a phone meeting with them of about 15 minutes in length. Use that time to ask specific questions about their position, what they like, what they don’t like, how they got where they are. You’ll find that people love to talk about themselves, and you’ll get great information for your own job search. N.B.: Don’t ask these people for a job. If you have to ask them anything, ask if they know someone you should meet; get that person’s phone number and use it to set up another cold-call meeting.
  5. Rework your LinkedIn profile. Change your URL to a vanity URL. Pepper your profile with critical keywords. Ask or answer a question. Learn about anything with the Updates function.

Last:

6. Practice interview questions. You’ll need to know those answers when you’ve completed #1-5 above—the more focused you are, the easier it will be for you to get a job fast.

Have questions about how to get your job faster than you can do it alone?

Call me at 801-810-JOBS to learn about my professional resume writing service.

Top 10 Resume Mistakes by Job Seekers Over 40

Top 10 Resume Mistakes by Executive Job Seekers Over 40

If you haven’t written a resume in the last decade or more, that’s a good thing.

That means you’ve been working in jobs that loved you as much as you have loved them. However, if you’re reading this, you’re probably in an executive job search, and you’re probably of an age where you wonder whether your years of experience is going to hurt or help. Your new resume won’t be anything like the resume you used to get your first (or perhaps your most recent) job. Times have changed for executive job seekers, and so have resume strategies. Read on, so you don’t make these top 10 executive resume mistakes:

  1. Writing “Resume” at the top of the first page. On the one hand, that’s overstating the completely obvious, and you’re wasting important resume real estate that could be used  more strategically (see #10 below). On the other, if you ever upload your resume to apply for jobs, that is to an electronic applicant tracking system (ATS), you’ll forever be known in the database as Resume No Last Name, which won’t  help you when a recruiter is looking for you.
  2. Including an I-want objective rather than a statement of value, (personal branding statement). Objectives are passé, as they focus on the candidate’s needs rather than the hiring manager’s requirements. Job seekers over 40 need to remember that until they are offered the position, everything they do or say in the job search process has to focus on solving the hiring manager’s pain, not their own.
  3. Including the dates of your college or university education. We can all subtract 22 from that year and get a sense of the applicant’s vintage. To avoid potential age discrimination, a job candidate should not telegraph her age on the resume.
  4. Not including an e-mail address. Older workers need to have a professional e-mail (not their company’s) for job search purposes. Including an e-mail shows that the candidate is not technology-averse and is available for communication at any time of day.
  5. Using a home telephone line. When a job hunter uses a home telephone number that is likely to be answered by children, it indicates to the hiring manager that the candidate might have certain liabilities, for example, insurance requirements or need for impromptu time off. As mobile phones are so prevalent and inexpensive, a job seeker over 40 should maintain mobile phone service, using a professional voice mail recording, that only she or he will be answering. For that matter, you don’t have to mention on your resume that the number you’re giving is your mobile number. People likely will expect you to use your mobile number, especially for direct accessibility but also for texting. Don’t have a mobile number? You can simulate having one, or add a separate number just for your job search at ZERO cost to you (this is my favorite job search hack—ask me about it. I’ve been using this hack for myself for almost a decade.).
  6. Writing a resume that is only 1 page when you have 3 pages’ worth of good, relevant experience. Let’s face it–hiring managers are likely to stop reading your resume after one or two pages if you are giving them boring details that don’t relate to their needs. But what if you have a lifetime’s worth of great, relevant experience? You absolutely should tell your future hiring manager about your great accomplishments, so they can see the answer to their problems in your professional history.
  7. Writing about more than 10 years’ worth of job roles (and balancing your breadth and depth of experience with #5 above). Hiring managers are focusing on what a candidate can do for them today—not what they were expected to do 20 years ago. Professionals over 40 should use resume real estate wisely and hit their most recent (or their most relevant) positions the hardest and give a fair amount of attention to 3–4 additional prior roles. If the candidate has a critical, relevant element of experience that is older than 10 years, he can include a line or two about it at the end of his executive experience section—without dates of employment.
  8. Not including a personalized (vanity) LinkedIn profile link. LinkedIn is the social medium most likely to be utilized by hiring managers and recruiters in the job search process. Candidates over 40 should take advantage of this free service and create a profile that makes a hiring manager want to pick up the phone. With that in mind, someone in the job market must create a vanity URL (available in the profile options) and put that link in the header of his resume.
  9. Writing about only soft skills and not about accomplishments. Soft skills are critical in any job, but would “great team player” be anything but an expectation for a hiring executive’s new employee? Job seekers over 40 must remember that reporting on accomplishments—the successes they’ve demonstrated for each job—is what gets hiring managers’ attention.
  10. Writing about only accomplishments and no soft skills (see #9 above). Challenge yourself to include the best of your experience by showing rather than telling your future hiring executive the half dozen reasons you’re the right choice to solve their problems right now.

“I’m an experienced executive—how do I prove it and avoid these critical resume mistakes as I go through my executive job search?”

Updated January 2017