How to Write Retiree Resumes

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People come out of retirement for various reasons, such as to stay active, to make further contributions to their field, or to shore up a sagging retirement account. But if you have decided to conduct a post-retirement job hunt, keep in mind that this search will be different from those you have conducted in the past. The rules of resumes have changed as electronic screening has come into favor. Additionally, being a retiree, with many years of experience, means you must construct your resume differently than a younger job-seeker would.

How to Write Retiree Resumes

  • Be clear about what you want. Given that you are retired, a potential employer may wonder whether you are seeking full-time employment, part-time work, or a consulting gig. By explicitly stating in your "objective" section the options you are willing to consider, you eliminate confusion and pave the way to be considered for an appropriate opening.

  • Create a digital resume. As an older candidate, you may battle the perception that you are behind the times on technology. If you submit a less-than-modern resume, you cement that assumption in managers' minds. Show that you are up on technology by putting your resume into all of the widely used formats: Microsoft Word, PDF and, finally, plain text for pasting into the body of an e-mail. Include a "keywords" section to increase your resume's chance of passing through electronic screening. Send your resume in the format the employer specifies. You can print out a paper version of your document, too, but in the electronic age, it is not likely to get much use.

  • Streamline to emphasize related experience. As a retiree, you may have worked in several jobs or even several fields during your career. Some of your endeavors may not relate closely to the job at hand. To avoid a cluttered resume, de-emphasize or eliminate those positions from your document, remembering that it is a marketing tool, not a confessional. Consider separating your jobs into two sections: "related experience" and "other experience."

  • Focus on achievements. This is good advice for anyone, as it is more interesting to read about the impact you have made in your career--increasing your employer's revenue, introducing successful ideas--than a laundry list of duties of and responsibilities. But this technique works particularly well for retirees, who are likely to have significant accomplishments under their belts. These lines on your resume separate you from younger competitors who may find themselves stretching to identify any actual accomplishments.

  • Keep it short. Because you have plenty of experience, you may find it tempting to ignore conventional advice and write a resume longer than one page. Avoid this if possible. Some managers believe older candidates are stuck in the past and reluctant to adapt to new conditions, technologies, procedures and bosses. Focusing heavily on your years of experience can support this perception. Plus, shorter resumes are quicker and easier for rushed executives to read.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have particular certifications or licenses, feature them prominently; if candidates with such qualifications are in short supply, those letters after your name can trump age and other factors.
  • Certain aspects of resume-writing never change; employers still hate to see spelling errors and awkward wording, so proofread carefully.

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