Dear Sam: I am 57 years old and I can’t seem to get my résumé noticed. I need help! I have been job searching and applying to countless jobs but can’t seem to get any interviews. My wife thinks it’s my resume; I think it’s my age. Regardless, I am getting no callbacks, interviews, or even thank you letters. — Rob
Dear Rob: Thank you for sending your résumé so I could diagnose the issue(s)and help your job search. Your wife is correct that it is your résumé that is disqualifying you from potential opportunities. You have only presented 24 years of professional work history so readers would not be able to calculate your age from how much experience you have presented, but based on the way you have written your résumé, you have aged your candidacy.
First, I am assuming you are seeking a role in construction management based on what I read in your qualifications summary. Based on this I would expect to know: (1) what types and sizes—dollar value, square feet, etc.—of projects you have worked on; (2) what makes you marketable and the most qualified candidate; and (3) how your experience has positioned you as a subject matter expert in your field. Explore your key qualifications in greater detail to assist in differentiating your candidacy in a very competitive market.
Second, you are presenting a 24-year history as a business owner. Hiring an entrepreneur can be a little more risky as what is to say that you would not prefer to be the boss and run your own show again? You have to dig deep and explore the value your business leadership experience provides you with when transitioning into an employee role. Deliver a balance of the core elements of your role, along with key project highlights, in order to ensure your background comes across as unique and value-added.
Lastly, omit your education section as you are not really communicating that you have a high school diploma, but rather highlighting that you do not have a college degree.
I know you can have a much more strategic résumé which positions you as uniquely qualified and does not unnecessarily age your candidacy. Best of luck in your job search.