Liz is a married mother of three and soon-to-be empty nester. With her youngest about to accept an early admission decision to her dream school and twins in their second year at the local state university, Liz is both excited and anxious about the transition ahead.
Eager to tackle a new challenge beyond the inconsistent part-time work she has juggled since leaving the workforce 17 years ago, Liz yearns to land a full-time position to invest her time and energy. Of equal importance to her is the ability to increase her earnings to help contribute to the family’s growing tuition needs. Having spent the past few months helping Liz explore the logistics of her return to full-time work and roles that she would find fulfilling, we are now ready to bring her resume into the 21st century.
Our first session dusting off her document starts easy enough with a nostalgic trip down memory lane. After narrating her career path from college graduate to parenthood, some self-doubt creeps in:
Liz: Look at the dates on this. I’m a dinosaur.
MH: If I told you that we were nearing five generations in the workplace at once, would that reassure you about your place in the world?
Liz: Um, maybe. Should I just leave off the dates and use that functional kind of format you talked about?
MH: We’re definitely going to combine a functional and chronological approach to help you leverage your skills and experiences, but the dates are important, too.
Since my private college and career practice frequently involves working with clients from the same family, I often find myself in the fantastic task of helping clients of all ages navigate the stages of career development from education and exploration to the job search. Having helped Liz’s children discover their own place in today’s ever-changing world, my focus now shifts to helping “Mom” develop her own sure footing:
Liz: I totally trust you, but tell me: Are the dates a way to ensure I’m not lying?
MH: More than anything, sharing the dates of your education and experience demonstrates how open and honest you are. My first reaction when reading a resume with missing dates is that the candidate is hiding something. When reviewing resumes with omitted dates, I urge clients to use transparency so no one feels deceived during the job search process.
Liz: But how do I prevent discrimination?
MH: We can’t prevent age bias – it’s a risk and reality of the job search. What we can control however, is the ability to present your dynamic skills and qualifications in way that engages the reader, proves your value to the workforce, and initiates an interview.
Liz: Got it. I’m still a dinosaur, though.
MH: Okay, as long as you don’t use that reference in an interview. Remind me to start your mock interview session sooner than later. I’m eager to debunk that myth for you, too!
Counselor. Mentor. Dream Developer. I am a veteran college and career consultant helping clients of all ages prepare and perform for success!