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If you’re an older worker seeking a new position, you know how valuable your experience would be to a company.
However, potential employers can sometimes worry about hiring older employees, even though age discrimination is illegal in hiring.
Here’s what can concern employers about more experienced professionals. With your years of experience, some employers may perceive you to be too expensive to hire, while others may think that you’re overly qualified for a role. Others may think that you’re not tech-savvy enough to effortlessly engage with common technologies at their workplace.
Ageism is alive and well in hiring, which is, unfortunately, why it’s so necessary to describe your technology skills in your resume and cover letter.
This tip isn’t about seeming cool or young, but about making it clear that you’re confident in using modern technology relevant to your field.
Here’s what to do.
Ensure Your Contact Methods Are Modern
There are subtle ways that your resume can seem out of date. These include old-fashioned email domains, including AOL, Hotmail, and Yahoo. Further, older methods of communication, like a fax number, should also be removed from your document.
Replace your older email address with a Gmail address. It’s also a good idea to demonstrate your understanding of professional social media by creating a personal website or a LinkedIn page. You can also link to your other social media accounts, like Twitter.
Leave Defunct Technology Off of Your Resume
Demonstrate that you know how to use software, programs, and apps that will be relevant in your workflow. This means that you can mention your understanding of Zoom, Slack, and Google Analytics in your previous positions.
At the same time, delete any outdated technology that you’ve learned to use in the past. While this may demonstrate that you’re adaptable, including irrelevant technology emphasizes your career longevity; most experts recommend focusing on your work history from the last 10 to 15 years.
Further, cut any references to standard workplace technology, like email or Microsoft Word. If technologies are commonplace in any office situation, you don’t need to include them on your resume.
Target Your Resume and Cover Letter
It’s important to modify your application materials for every job application you submit. Essentially, targeting your materials means that you speak to the specific qualifications the company is seeking in a candidate. For instance, you could alter the skills on your resume to directly match the language used in the job application.
This is good practice in general but is particularly relevant in focusing on your tech-savviness. Mention how you’ve used the technologies they use at the company in your previous positions. If they don’t list any particular technologies, research which technologies are standard in each role for which you apply. In either scenario, you’ve included technical understanding that is directly relevant to the position at hand.
Consider Using a Functional, Rather Than Chronological, Resume Format
If you’re following the 10 to 15 year job history recommendation, you may also want to alter your resume format from chronological to functional. A functional resume lists your skills, followed by the duties and responsibilities that helped you develop these skills.
So, rather than interspersing your technology skills into several previous positions, you could create a skill header titled “TECHNOLOGY SKILLS” and then list scenarios when you demonstrated technological mastery. For instance, if you contributed to an initiative shifting paper to electronic medical records, note that. You could also mention that you moved your weekly staff meetings online.
Emphasize Instances Where You Implemented New Technologies
For some, it can feel like overkill to have a section on your resume solely focused on technological skills. Perhaps you don’t feel that you have enough to fit into this section, either. If that’s the case, you can simply weave in mentions of technology throughout your chronological resume.
Like in the above example, you could simply list your role in shifting from paper to electronic medical records as one of your responsibilities in a particular position.
Check Your Formatting
If you’re asked to upload your resume to an Automated Tracking System (ATS), your resume formatting may get messy in the conversion. Make sure to double-check and ensure that your formatting is consistent and professional, no matter what system you’re using. This is your first “tech” impression, so be sure to pay attention to it.
Proving Your Tech Skills – So Your Other Abilities Can Shine
It’s an unfortunate perception that older adults can’t use technology as well as their younger counterparts. So, it’s important to head off this perception early in your application materials so you can emphasize the other skills you bring to the table. By mentioning your technology adoption history, you’ll ensure that hiring managers will consider all your qualifications, without worrying about your tech savvy.
Want additional information on job search and interviewing? Check out our blog.