Resume Writing Strategies for 50+ Workers
older man with crossed arms

For the job seeker over the age of 50, or anyone with 20-25+ years of experience in their career, it’s hard to know what to highlight and what to leave out in your resume writing. With so much experience, a resume could easily get to three or four pages. But experts encourage you think of your resume as a marketing tool, not an autobiography.

“An effective resume for a highly experienced person is one that tells a story that captures the best of what the person has contributed and achieved during their career, as well as delivers a clear message about what they want to contribute going forward,” says Debra Magnuson, a highly-popular executive and career coach.

The purpose of a resume is not to get you a job, but to create confidence in your skills and the curiosity that gets you an interview. And the resume for the experienced worker should simply communicate what’s next, she says.

Here are tips to help you craft yours:

Be succinct.

Keep the resume to two pages unless you have a complex history of many different companies with highly relevant experience that needs to be included.

Do you have to include every job? In general, it’s best to focus on the last 20 years. Keep your jobs in chronological order and put the most emphasis on the last 10 – 15 years.

Be selective about the kinds of bullet points you choose to include. You don’t need to include everything you’ve done.

Some executive recruiters might want you to include every job you’ve ever had. If you are participating in an executive search, include everything because they won’t mind a four- to five-page resume. However, keep a two-page resume available for interviews, online applications, and emailing to networking contacts.

When you are listing experience that date past 20 years, simply list the title, company name, city/state, and years like:

Project manager, Acme Technology Solutions, Fort Myers, FL (1986-1989)

Put formatting to work for you.

Recruiters don’t read resumes top to bottom like we read a book. Instead, they scan a resume first, looking for key elements that stand out. Bold key successes, keywords, and achievements to bring focus for the recruiter.

Include facts and numbers.

  • Do NOT write “Sold products and met quotas.”
  • Do write: “Sold $516,750 in one year while exceeding all four quarterly quotas by an average of 21%.”


  • Do NOT write “Produced substantial savings.”
  • Do write: “Saved $45,890 in 45 days.”

Be clear about what you want.

When writing a resume, open with a summary paragraph that lays out a clear message about the role you want and what makes you a great candidate. Don’t call it an objective statement. Instead, use “Summary” as the first header to introduce yourself.

Look ahead, not back.

Focus on the role you want, not where you’ve been. Say less about the roles/tasks you no longer want to do.

State your value proposition.

What skills, experience, and credentials do you bring to the role you want? What are your unique differentiators for the role? What separates you from others with similar skills and background?

Here’s where you have to come up with achievements that show proof of accomplishments in order to be seen as the person they are looking for.

Share relevant career highlights and accomplishments.

Focus on what you’ve achieved, not the tasks you were responsible for. Include measurable outcomes.

In summary

  • Resume writing is not about what you did in the past. It’s about what you can do in the future for the NEXT employer. Highlight a specific skill set that fits the needs of each job. Those are the resumes that get noticed.
  • Focus on your most recent 10 -1 5 years.
  • Keep it two pages that highlight your successes and achievements.
  • Use language that matches the job description for the job you are applying for.

That’s how an experienced worker gets noticed by a recruiter!

And always keep in mind that if you need help with your resume format, design, and writing, you can always bring in the specialists at CareerToolBoxUSA.


Beth Kelzer
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