With lockdown rules being lifted and people able to go back to work, the job market is due to once again become competitive; even more so for older candidates who have been out of the game for longer.
Remove non-essential information
Under the Equality Act of 2010 it’s illegal to discriminate against someone based on age, so you don’t have to state your age if you don’t want to. Employers will choose the individual best suited to the role, so allow your skills, experience and passion to take centre stage instead.
Your specific address (general location is fine), personal circumstances and photos can also be removed. These don’t explain why someone should hire you and instead fill valuable space you could be using to sell yourself. Speaking of which…
Restrict CVs to two pages
Now more than ever before, jobs are extremely competitive. At best, recruiters spend around 7 seconds to scan a CV; at worst they’ll use a machine to do it for them. So applicants need to stand out as quickly as possible. Highlighting your skills, experiences and interests in a concise manner is more likely to maintain interest.
Avoid bloating buzzwords
Contrary to popular belief, cutting down on bloat words doesn’t make your CV less interesting. CVs should be tailored to each job, using only the relevant skills for the application. Research each vacancy beforehand to handpick the best skills to target and jumpstart you higher up in the list.
Emphasise experience over age
Experience is often preferred to education. Showing you have years of developed skills is better than a degree in something less relevant. Strike a positive tone and list key abilities before academic qualifications on your resume for the recruiter to see this first.
Include a professional summary
An even better way to grab attention from the get-go is to start with a professional summary: a concise overview of you and your talents. The benefit of this is the hirer has everything they need in a tightly worded package, which they can expand on if necessary.
Sell your technical skills
Employers need to know that you’re as technically proficient as someone 20 years younger. Prove that you’re up to date with the latest tools and platforms by including them in your CV. This includes skills you’ve learned in lockdown – research by The Knowledge Academy states it can take as little as 10 days to learn a new technical skill!
Just remember to avoid unnecessary jargon or ‘inside lingo’ that some hirers may not understand, and break technical content with softer skills to add a human feel.
Network network network!
Most job applications are now online which, depending on your expertise, may not be ideal. But that doesn’t mean it’s what you must rely on. Also referred to as the Hidden Job Market, some research suggests as many as 70% of jobs aren’t posted online. If you’re used to the word-of-mouth approach to secure a job then keep practicing this alongside online applications.
If content is King, then design is its Queen
How a CV appears is just as important as the information it provides, so a good visual balance will mean the reader focuses on what matters the most: your qualifications. Keep your CV polished by incorporating bullet points, short summaries, and a mix of formats for clarity. Make it visually pleasing but avoid overly elaborate designs.
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