Beat the ageism game. How to create a great CV when you’re over 50

Create a good CV over 50 Silver Magazine

If you’re over a certain age and looking for a job, chances are your age could affect the outcome, despite the fact that discriminating against someone for their age is illegal.

Here’s how to create the best CV and avoid looking old when you’re over 50.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), over 600,000 Brits lost their jobs between March and May this year.

With lockdown rules being lifted and people able to go back to work, the job market is due to once again become competitive; even more so for older candidates who have been out of the game for longer. And jobs are thinner on the ground too.

Remove non-essential information

Under the Equality Act of 2010 it’s illegal to discriminate against someone based on age, so you don’t have to state your age if you don’t want to. Employers will choose the individual best suited to the role, so allow your skills, experience and passion to take centre stage instead.

Your specific address (general location is fine), personal circumstances and photos can also be removed. These don’t explain why someone should hire you. Instead, fill valuable space with detail that will show off your skills. Speaking of which…

Restrict CVs to two pages – absolute maximum!

Jobs are extremely competitive. At best, recruiters spend around seven seconds to scan a CV; at worst they’ll use a machine to do it for them. So applicants need to stand out as quickly as possible. Highlighting your skills, experiences, and interests in a concise manner is more likely to maintain interest.

Buzzwords and templates

Don’t waffle, or fill your CV with buzzwords and nonsense. Even if you work in marketing. Also, CVs should be tailored to each job, using only the relevant skills for the application. Research each vacancy beforehand to handpick the best skills to target and jumpstart you higher up in the list.

Emphasise experience over age

Experience is often preferred to education. Showing you have years of developed skills is better than a degree in something less relevant. Strike a positive tone and list key abilities before academic qualifications on your resume for the recruiter to see this first.

Include a professional summary

An even better way to grab attention from the get-go is to start with a professional summary: a concise (no waffle!) overview of you and your talents. The benefit of this is the hirer has everything they need in a tightly worded package. They can explore further once you’ve grabbed their attention.

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Sell your technical skills

Employers need to know that you’re as technically proficient as someone 20 years younger. Prove that you’re up to date with the latest tools and platforms by including them in your CV. This includes skills you’ve learned in lockdown – research shows it can take as little as 10 days to learn a new technical skill. Both Google and LinkedIn offer free courses, but a search on the web will turn up plenty of learning opportunity.

Just remember to avoid unnecessary jargon or ‘inside lingo’ that some hirers may not understand, and break up technical content with softer skills to add a human feel.

Network, network, network!

Most job applications are now online which, depending on your expertise, may not be ideal. But that doesn’t mean it’s what you must rely on. Also referred to as the Hidden Job Market, some research suggests as many as 70% of jobs aren’t posted online. If you’re used to the word-of-mouth approach to secure a job then keep practicing this alongside online applications.

If content is King, then design is its Queen

How a CV appears is just as important as the information it provides, so a good visual balance will mean the reader focuses on what matters the most: your qualifications. Keep your CV polished by incorporating bullet points, short summaries, and a mix of formats for clarity. Make it visually pleasing but avoid overly elaborate designs.


Thanks to the experts at for this advice on resume building

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