A Guide to Staying Relevant in the Modern Workplace

Posted January 2, 2024 by in Career

In 2024, those of the Baby Boomer generation will be between 60 and 78 years old. At that time of life, finding a new job or even staying at the top of your game in your current job comes with unique challenges.

The good news is, those challenges can be overcome. First, we’ll look at some common reasons why resumes are rejected and how you can address them. Then, we’ll consider ways that you can continue to upskill and leverage your vast experience.

If you are the child of a Baby Boomer and can see a parent or older sibling struggling to find a new role, you can check out this guide to help them along the way.

Why Did They Reject My Application?

Your resume and cover letter are your first points of contact with a potential employer—your first impression. You want to make sure that impression is a good one so you will move forward in the hiring process. One way to ensure a good first impression is to avoid these common pitfalls.

Generic Documents

Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t just create one general-purpose resume and be done with it. It is important to adapt and tailor your resume to each job you apply for. Look for keywords in the job posting, including skills, tools or software, years of experience, or necessary schooling. Include these in your resume; they’ll prove your abilities are relevant to the task. 

Also, be careful not to cut and paste your resume from some other source or rely too heavily on AI text generation. These can be helpful tools in composing your resume, but they are often recognized as generic and contrived. Be sure to personalize it as described above.

Poor Formatting

If your resume is hard to read, it may get passed over. Choose a standard font such as Times New Roman or Arial, at 10 to 12 point size. Avoid cursive or decorative fonts. Use columns, margins, and headings to break up and organize the text. If you use color on your resume, try printing it in black and white to make sure the text doesn’t disappear into the background. Using a template can simplify this process.

Today, we most often submit resumes electronically. Make sure to save or export your document as a PDF file. Word documents and similar file types can lose their formatting when opened on a different device. At best, they might not look as pretty, but at worst, they could become completely unreadable.

Content

What you do or do not put on your job application can mean the difference between getting called for an interview and getting ghosted.

Your contact information is usually the first thing someone reading your application will see. Don’t make the mistake of using an unprofessional email address—you know, those silly word combinations we first used as kids or when the internet was new.

Thanks to Gmail, it’s easy to create a professional email address. Start with simply your first and last name. If that’s already taken, try some combination of your name, initials, and simple numbers.

In the body of your resume, don’t include too much unnecessary Information. If it is too long, it might get passed over; try to keep it to one page. Limit your work to the last 10 years or the previous three jobs. In fact, including jobs from many years ago can lead to age discrimination.

Don’t include high school information if you have a university degree – this, too, could lead to ageism. Don’t take up space with hobbies or other loosely related material if you could fill it with more relevant items.

There are times, though, when a bit more detail is required. Unexplained red flags such as large employment gaps or frequent job changes could lead the employer to question your reliability. You can avoid this by filling gaps with training or freelance work or by offering a brief explanation in your cover letter.

Finally, proofread your resume. Use an editor such as Grammarly to double-check it. Typos and spelling errors will quickly tarnish your other achievements.

Connect Digitally

Once you’ve updated your resume, use it to create a LinkedIn profile if you have not already done so. Many recruiters use this as a resource to publich job offers, headhunt, and connect with people in their industry. Also, reach out to your contacts via LinkedIn to take full advantage of the professional network you’ve built over the years.

Never Stop Learning

Continuing education is an important step to remaining relevant in your field. Attend conferences and seminars, take a class or even go back to school for an advanced degree. You could pursue a license or certification in your field—and don’t forget to add it to your resume.

In this way, no one will ever assume you are not up-to-date on the latest information, even if your original schooling took place decades ago.

Leverage Long Experience

You’ve got a lifetime of experience under your belt. When you prove by your actions that you are steady and reliable, others may seek out your advice or mentorship. Be open to this, especially if you are in or can transition to a leadership or managerial role.

When you want to polish your job application process, take advantage of tools like LinkedIn, keep learning, and lean into the wisdom of your life experience, your career can continue to flourish for years to come.

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