The idea that you must “dumb down” your resume to be more appealing to younger hiring supervisors is nonsense. When you have a lot of experience, knowing just what to highlight to showcase your value is a challenge. But young decision-makers are not dumb and “dumbing down” implies a sense of superiority that will probably bleed through in what you write–and in what you say if you get an interview.
You need to tweak it to be the most effective in can be every time you use it. But that’s about focus and targeting what’s needed in that job, not pretending you are less than you. It’s not that younger hiring decision makers aren’t smart enough or experienced enough to comprehend things as vast as your experience. It’s that “your experience” isn’t what the hiring situation is about. The company’s need is the focus of any hiring decision. If you want to be in the running to do the work, shape your resume–and your cover letter, interview answers, and any other communication–around how what you can do matches what they need done.
Here are six questions to help you determine if your resume is saying a whole lot less than you think it is:
1. Are you clinging to words, titles, and descriptions that focus on how great you were then? Use words that make sense to the company you’re talking to now instead.
2. Are you clinging to multisyllabic or out-of-date titles and terms simply because “that’s what it was called”? Nobody cares if the title was actually “Managing Regional Partner for Customer Support, Retention, and Attraction. ” Even if that was the title, use the equivalent generic–Regional Marketing VP
3. Are you phrasing everything you can in current vernacular? Clinging to the words you used then instead of working from what’s current makes you look old–and out of date.
4. Are you highlighting what you can do NOW? A section that summarizes your strengths placed at the beginning of your resume helps with this.
5. Are you name dropping to make yourself look good? This plays to the ageist stereotype. Stand on your own laurels….but make sure they are relevant.
6. Are you using jargon? Communicating in plain language, even if you are in a highly technical field, makes you a stronger candidate. Jargon changes rapidly, and you can appear obsolete simply because the term you used is no longer standard. Use as little jargon as you can. Same deal with acronyms. Jargon makes those who don’t use it on their jobs feel inferior when someone else does–and that’s not what you want to happen when someone looks at your resume.
This is not “dumbing down” your resume. It’s getting smart about what you are trying to do with it in the first place.