Customize your resume for each job
Published: Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 8:05 p.m.
Q: When I retired, I'd had a successful 30-plus-year career, which included owning my own business and making a comfortable living. Now, my financial situation has changed and I need to rejoin the workforce in order to supplement my income. I'm not looking to make big bucks, but simply want a steady and reliable job. The problem is that, because my resume lists my previous accomplishments, I'm seen as overqualified and don't even get an interview where I could explain that I'm happy to take a lesser job. Any suggestions?
A: It sounds like what you are communicating via resume and cover letter might be making things more difficult than necessary. Here are some suggestions:
Resumes don't have to be all inclusive. There's no rule. So take time to customize yours for each job, mentioning only relevant experience. Consider a functional resume, where related experience is grouped as opposed to a traditional chronological work history. To simplify the narrative, you can also try a sentence like “Between 1990–2005 held various positions and started a successful business.”
Once you're interviewing, you can provide more details if requested.
Now to your cover letter. Make it ooze flexibility. Be clear about how flexible and adaptable you are regarding the job and salary. This relieves any concern that you may want high pay or be set in your ways.
Watch the terminology, for instance, mentioning a “30-plus-year career” – like you did when posing this question — can flag you as older. But, most importantly, don't wait for them to figure out why your previous experience doing XYZ is directly applicable to their current needs. Tell them.
Then there's LinkedIn, which is now a must-have for any job seeker. Whenever you correspond via email with employers, your electronic signature should include a link to your profile. Also if you're asked to send your resume as an attachment, make sure it's in the proper format and opens without glitches. Test it by emailing it to yourself or a friend.
Lastly, consider signing up with a temp agency. I've seen “unconventional age” temps get a foot in the door and later get hired as regular employees. Best of luck.
Eva Del Rio is a human resources consultant and business owner. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on Facebook.