A FlexJobs representative provides a number of resume writing tips to reduce the risk of ageism during the application process, help flex the remote work skills and more.
On Monday, FlexJobs published a report highlighting the ways searching for a job has changed in the last 10 years. We spoke with Cidnye Work, a career coach at FlexJobs, to identify tips to consider when searching for a job due to these changes. As employers look to increase hiring in the months ahead, now could be a solid time to update the resume with a refresh crafted for the work-from-anywhere era.
Limit the job history
The FlexJobs post suggests listing only the last 10 to 15 years of occupational experience on a resume. However, if a person has a past position they’d like to highlight that is beyond the 10 or 15-year mark, there are formatting options to keep in mind. For example, Work suggested creating a section on the resume dedicated to “Additional Related Experience,” which she described as a “shorter section after your ‘Professional Experience’ section that lists older positions without dates.”
There are two ways to craft this section, Work explained: One involves listing the position, company and location without bullets. If an applicant has “big accomplishments, metrics, or highlights that are really relevant and important to the role,” Work suggested adding up to three short bullet points to cover their “biggest impacts.”
“But remember every single thing you did does not need to be included in your resume and can always be included in a cover letter or interview conversation,” Work said.
Avoid ageist setbacks
The FlexJobs post also suggests keeping resumes “modern” and removing “old school elements.” Work discussed the potential for ageism with certain age-identifying resume elements.
“While your age specifically isn’t a problem, the assumptions people make about your age, referred to as ‘ageism,’ can be a problem. It’s unfortunate, but it can be a part of the job search process and sometimes it’s out of our control,” she said.
Beyond limiting occupational history to 10 or 15 years, Work also suggested omitting graduation dates and using current resume formats without objectives listed or noting that references are available upon request. Additionally, Work said candidates should keep “their tech skills current” and list current communication platforms on their resumes in a “Technology” section.
SEE: The best programming languages to learn–and the worst (TechRepublic Premium)
Interestingly, the post suggests dropping AOL, Hotmail and Yahoo email addresses in favor of a “more current email provider” a la Gmail. Work reiterated this sentiment, adding that “AOL, Hotmail and internet service provider email addresses are the more outdated providers we recommend shifting away from,” while explaining the rationale behind these suggestions; the rationale again pointed toward ageism risks during the application process.
“Older email service providers such as AOL, Hotmail, and Yahoo could signify your age and lead recruiters or hiring managers to make assumptions based on that,” Work said. “Using a newer, more modern provider such as Gmail helps eliminate any potential ageism that could come into play.”
Beyond these risks, Work said Hotmail and Yahoo “have had issues filtering important job-related emails to the spam folder” leading to job seekers missing “important job search updates from employers.”
Flex the remote skills
In the last year, companies worldwide have adopted remote work policies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. While some organizations have started to bring employees back to the traditional office, other companies have made long-term commitments to remote and hybrid work arrangements. The FlexJob report suggests playing up a person’s remote skills, but even if a person does not necessarily have experience working remotely there are other transferable experiences to highlight.
“A lot of people don’t think they have had remote work experience if they haven’t had an official full-time remote job, however, more people have remote work experience than they think,” Work said. “If you have ever worked at a distance from your coworkers, across time zones or physical distances, that counts.”
Work said working from home occasionally or regularly, earning an online degree or certification counts are remote work experiences.
“If you volunteered on a project where you did most of the work from your home office, that counts,” she said.
To denote specific telecommuter positions on your resume, Work suggested clearly stating “remote work” next to the job title, listing this information in past job descriptions or building this into the ‘Skills’ section.
Timing is everything
TechRepublic has previously reported on the speculated Great Resignation of 2021 as employees look to switch positions around the U.S. Amid increased hiring, signing bonuses and a job-searchers market, now could be a particularly good time to refresh the resume and start looking for a new position.
“Right now there is a shift in where, when and how work is taking place. As more companies start to determine their flexibility and willingness to allow employees to work remote, flexible or hybrid schedules, job seekers can be pickier in seeking out companies that fit their specific needs,” Work said.
Beyond people switching positions within their industry, the current job market could also provide prospective job seekers with the ability to test new career paths altogether.
“The pandemic also highlighted more companies are willing to consider transferable skills and skills-based hiring as a way to hire new talent, so it is a great time for people who are considering switching careers to make the transition while this is top-of-mind for employers,” Work said.