Older Ladies - Write a Great Resume to get the Job You Want!

I recently found a job in a quick time frame – one week! Yippee! Unheard of. I’ve looked for work for months without getting a nibble. And the nibbles I get usually go nowhere after prospective employers get a look at me and realize how old I am.

I’ve talked about how it’s important that we use updated resumes and try to stay away from dates and years that might tip off a prospective employer how old we are.

Ageism sucks!

Ageism is alive and well in Canada for older jobseekers, so once they get a look at us in person and see how old we are, more than likely we’ll still be rejected. At least we’ve had the opportunity to get a foot in the door and try to sell ourselves in person.

The bias exists. Many employers are looking for younger staff than hiring an older employee because of preconceived notions about us. Mostly that we’re knocking on death’s door and will be absent frequently dealing with sickness and other issues related to aging.

Not true!

Me for example. I’ve rarely taken sick days. It’s not because I show up to work sick. Generally speaking, I’m a healthy person. In my last job I was there for over one year before I took a sick day and that had to do with an abscessing tooth that had an upcoming root canal. Man! That kept me awake most of the night! Not good!

I’m an administrative assistant and the job I currently have I got very lucky in that the owner sees the value in older employees and that’s his hiring preference. Obviously this employer is in the minority! Our business does focus on providing a service for seniors and this turned out to be a good fit for me.

My Resume

Here’s my hour of embarrassment. I was planning to show my resume, in a Word template for others to use, but I just couldn’t figure out how to upload it safely. Next I set about trying to find the template I used online, only to come up empty:(

Here’s what to do if you like this style. Do an online search for contemporary 2 column resume. You could always add into the search the type of job you’re looking for and it might help you out with keywords you hadn’t thought of using.

I’m sure I tweaked this resume after I downloaded it. I thought the layout was sharp and I liked the aqua blue font on the headings. Though that doesn’t show up when I print the resume out in good old black and white.

Sorry about that, but I’m showing a jpg of my resume after I took out the personal information. A girl can’t be too careful. I picked up a cyberstalker a few years ago who also tried to hack into my computer. The RCMP were involved, and let’s just say I hope it doesn’t happen again!

Let that also be a warning to all of you out there – don’t put too much personal information on your resume. Your name, email, and phone number is all a potential employer needs to know to contact you. The last two you can easily change if you have to!

Notice how I “age-proof” my resume.

The Lifestyle Digs My Resume

My other Resume

Here is the resume I used for the job before that in 2016 when I landed a job covering a maternity leave position for one year. And yes, I did use my actual address.

The Lifestyle Digs My other resume

The styles are different. Neither style is bad. I just happened to find that two column resume template that I liked.


Keywords are huge. You can use the same ones I use or use Google to find a resume sample for the job position you’re looking for. Many companies have an online database that picks up the keywords on job applications and the matches are flagged for the Human Resources department to look at.

Depending on the job you’re looking for, the employer may have received dozens or hundreds of job applicants. Many of them good job applicants. Not everyone is hitting the apply button to every job posting on Indeed!

Cover Letter

Stand out from the competition with a good cover letter because most job applicants don’t include one. Here’s the cover letter I use. Tweak it for your purposes. Put in anything that could give you a leg up. Often, employers are looking for staff who live locally. These are people who are probably not commuting in rush hour traffic on the major highways and getting stuck behind an accident. These are people who can probably get into work in bad weather. I absolutely make sure my prospective employer knows it doesn’t take me long to reach the workplace.

Hello! (I used the person’s name that was in the ad. If you don’t know the name – hello is good)

I’m applying for the Administrative Assistant job you have posted on WorkBC.

I’m sure I would be a good fit for this position because I have many years office experience including handling a multi-line switchboard, emails, mail, courier, purchasing, invoicing, and record keeping. I have excellent data entry skills, am detail oriented, and can assure complete confidentiality when handling customer accounts and internal information. Depending on the program, I have intermediate to advanced skills in Microsoft Office. I know how to operate many office machines – photocopier, printer, fax, scanner, postage machine, point of sale machine, and microfiche. I’m known for my cheerful personality and willingness to pitch in and help out when needed. I get along well with others, and work well either by myself or in a team setting.

I live locally. Depending on traffic lights, I’m about a 5 minute drive from (company name). Or a 15 minute bike ride!

Please take a look at my resume and contact me at (my cell phone #).

Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you.

I sign off with my name and email address. It’s important to have your email and phone number in the cover letter just in case it gets separated from the resume. Make it easy for the employer to reach you!

Also note where I say I have many years experience without pinning down a number. In most cases the answer is more than 20 years! Yikes! An employer can guess I’m at least 40 if I put that down. Pass!

Recapping tips for older jobseekers
  1. Polish your resume. Don’t use an old fashioned resume.
  2. Avoid years on your resume, such as your graduation or jobs you held more than 20 years ago.
  3. Trim your experience to show no more than 10 years.
  4. Remove unrelated experience not applicable to the job you’re applying to.
  5. Use a functional resume that lists skills and experience instead of a chronological resume that lists past jobs in date order.
  6. Show you’re connected and list social media links (but only if they’re professional!)
  7. Prove you know how to follow directions. Don’t drop off a resume if it says to email one.
  8. Bring a copy of your resume to interviews. It might have suffered formatting errors when uploading to a webpage.
  9. It’s illegal to discriminate job applicants based on age, but if an employer can guesstimate your age from the resume, many won’t contact you for an interview.
Final Word

Stay safe. It is not important to have your actual address on your resume and cover letter. Don’t provide references until after the interview process and the hiring manager asks for them. (Yay! You’re in the final round of being considered!) It is also not required to give your birth date, social insurance number or social security number until you’re officially hired. Same with your banking information for direct deposit on pay day. With the amount of scams going on, be safe and only give out this information when you know you’ve been hired by a legitimate employer.

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