Older Worker’s Resume—50+ Resume

If you’re 50 or older and looking for a job, you probably have some questions about how this whole resume process applies to you. If you plan to write a resume yourself it can be intimidating, but here are some tips directed at the older worker.

Your unemployed status may have come as a shock. Maybe you’ve worked for the same employer for the last 20 years and never thought you would need a resume again. You’re not alone. Downsizing, mergers and companies’ decisions to replace higher-paid older workers with lower-paid younger workers has left a lot of people in this same situation.

Or maybe you chose your new unemployed status. Perhaps you’re tired of what you’ve done for the last 20 years and want to seek a new career direction. You, too, will need a resume, one that shows how the skills you learned in your past career will transfer to the new career you’re seeking.

There is age discrimination out there, but the good news is that more and more employers are recognizing the value of hiring “silver” workers. Many companies soon will face a shortage of workers due to the retirement of many baby-boomers. They also recognize the work ethic, wisdom and experience an older worker can bring to the workplace. Use these factors to your benefit!

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts about resumes and career searches for the silver worker.

  • Do: Use a combination of a chronological and functional resume to highlight your job accomplishments.

  • Do: Focus on the last ten years of your work experience, giving dates and listing accomplishments for these jobs .

  • Don’t: List any jobs more than 10-15 years old, and leave out the dates for the older ones if you must include them.

  • Do: List your degrees.

  • Don’t: List the dates of your degrees.

  • Do: List any certificates earned or classes taken in the last 10 years. These are almost more important than your degrees—they show you are keeping up with skills needed on the job.

  • Do: Use time before an expected layoff to take as many computer courses or courses in your field as possible. If you’re already laid off, go to your local community college and take as many courses as you can so you can put these on your resume.

  • Do: List your transferable competencies in your summary of qualifications, especially if you are changing career direction. Your transferable competencies might include broad categories like people skills, management skills and thinking skills such as problem solving or systems thinking, but narrow the competencies down even more to fit your particular job goal.

  • Do: Make your cover letter upbeat and emphasize how your skills will help your prospective employer solve the challenges facing that particular industry.

  • Don’t: Come across as really expensive. Often employers are willing to pay more for experience, but that’s a topic for an interview, not a resume. You may need to play down your accomplishments in some cases.

  • Do: Be sure you have someone (hopefully someone with an English degree!) look your material over for mistakes.

Here’s a pretty good sample of a 50+ person’s resume. Use it to guide you in writing yours. Note that Jane Jobhunter has listed new skills in the training industry in the summary statement and she has also created a list of computer and training tool skills that she has developed.

Note also that her job history only goes back 10 years and that there are no dates on her degrees. She has also emphasized certificate courses she has taken, which show that she keeps up-to-date in her field.


1300 Easy Street
Hometown, State 12001

Summary of Qualifications

An experienced training professional with demonstrated success in developing, delivering and evaluating corporate training programs. Two years of work with newly developed tools for rapid e-learning development. Special skills in online training for a variety of audiences. Recognized for alignment of training solutions with business goals, management of projects and people, process improvement, needs analysis and training evaluation.

Computer and Training Tool Skills

  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • Macromedia FLASH
  • Articulate
  • SnagIt
  • Adobe Presenter
  • Adobe Captivate
  • Adobe Acrobat
  • Adobe InDesign

Professional Experience

Honey Donuts      2005-2008
Denver, Colorado
Director of Training

Directed designers and web developers in creating e-learning, in-store and classroom-based training for product rollouts

Introduced e-learning as an effective tool for store owner product training, saving thousands of print dollars with each product roll-out.

  • Built and managed a team of designers, many of them novices, who created highly interactive online and face-to-face training at the application level, resulting in a significant increase in store owner satisfaction with product training.
  • Designed and implemented processes to reduce department overtime from an average of six hours/person/week to almost zero hours.
  • Directed implementation of a new tool for online course creation.

By Golly, Inc       2003-2005
Aurora, Colorado
Managing Partner

Provided e-learning and paper-based training solutions to a variety of clients including Company A, Company B and Company C.

  • Working in a virtual environment, created blended learning solutions that helped move a company’s clients to an enthusiasm for e-learning.
  • Learned a complex product and created face-to-face sales training materials on this product, delivering within a very short deadline. Recognized for the quality of the training material.
  • Using collaborative software, designed Web-based experiences for practicing and perfecting job skills in the insurance industry, which led to saving the company thousands of dollars in travel expenses.

Fairly Focused Training Center 1998-2003
Boulder, Colorado
Manager of Instructional Design; Director of Program Management

Directed a multi-disciplinary team of 15 that designed and developed more than 400 courses for Learn It Now, a major Web-based training company.

  • Created the criteria for and made hiring and firing decisions on over 75 instructional designers in a five-year period.
  • Trained over 40 novice instructional designers on applying adult learning principles and instructional design processes to e-learning.
  • Created instructional design processes that significantly improved course time-to-market.
  • Personally developed more that 30 web-based courses, many of which are still part of Learn it Now’s offerings.


  • M.A. in history, University of Tulsa, Tulsa Oklahoma
  • B.A. in history, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado

Certificate Programs

  • American Society for Training and Development: Certificate in Training with E-learning
  • American Society of Distance Educators: Certificate in Distance Education


  • NDEA Fellowship for excellence in graduate work
  • New York City Training Association Award
  • Public Relations Society of America, Non-Profit Division, First Place Award

Professional Memberships

  • American Society for Training and Development
  • International Society for Performance Improvement
  • American Society of Distance Educators

Once you’ve looked at the resume above, you may want to check out resume tips and resume help for some more suggestions. Because resumes differ based on the specific industry or even the specific job, look at the job-specific resume examples we've provided. And do your homework. Look at web sites, publications and job ads in your field to get an idea of the appropriate resume format, style, content and keywords. Using generic formats that can be applied to any kind of job will not grab the reader's attention.

And instead of thinking of yourself as old and unemployed, instead know that you are wise and wonderful, and any employer would be lucky to have you!