The Resume: Special Rules for Senior Citizens

When you write a resume, there are several criteria to keep in mind for how you present yourself. You of course want to focus on highlighting your best accomplishments and most relevant skills. You want to keep your resume relatively short and easy to read. You also want to make sure that your resume is visually appealing, clearly formatted, and free of typos. But there’s one more thing you might be judged on of which you may not be aware: your age.  Skilled employees with decades of experience may be perceived as too old for the job. Here are some tips to avoid the perils of age discrimination.


At this point in your career, your work experience is usually more valuable than your education. Therefore, unless you graduated recently, your education should go to the bottom of your resume. Likewise, unless your degree is fairly new, you should give only a minimum of information about it – name of degree, name of school, city and state, and major (if applicable). Do not include dates of graduation if it’s been more than 10 years. You do not want to open yourself up to age discrimination.

Work Experience

It can be unwise, if you’re a seasoned employee, to provide your entire work history on a resume. Not only would doing so make your resume extremely long, but it would also advertise the fact that you’re a senior citizen – and open you up to age discrimination. Instead, you will usually want to give only the past 10-15 years of work history. That’s usually plenty to establish your skills and credentials. Also, be careful not to say anything like, “35 years of experience as an RN.” Instead, say, “15+ years of experience as an RN.”


Sometimes, there is a compelling reason for a jobseeker to want to include experience which is more than 20 years old. Perhaps you have a large gap in your recent work history and need to go back farther to establish your experience. Perhaps you’re trying to return to a field that you used to work in 25 years ago. Please be aware of the age discrimination issue, and weigh carefully whether including older information will help you more than it hurts you. If you decide to include older experience, you may wish to use a functional resume template such as this or this, which draws attention away from dates. Here are two articles with more detailed information on how to write a functional resume.

additional Resources

For more information on the special rules for jobseeking as a senior citizen, you may wish to check out Getting the Job You Want After 50 for Dummies or 50 Steps for 50 Year Old Job Seekers from the East Baton Rouge Parish Library. Alternately, if you would like personalized help in putting together your resume, please visit the Career Center inside the Main Library at Goodwood, 7711 Goodwood Boulevard, Baton Rouge, LA.

Written by Lynnette Lee




The Hybrid Resume Format

One of the most crucial parts of writing an effective resume is choosing the right format. We usually distinguish between chronological, functional, and hybrid formats, with each having distinct pros and cons. To that end, we will be discussing different resume formats and which ones work for which job seekers. Today, we’ll look at the hybrid resume format.


The hybrid resume template is, as it sounds, a hybrid of the other two types of resumes we previously discussed: chronological and functional. The chronological resume is a straightforward listing of chronological work history: where you worked and when. The functional resume, also discussed here, takes the opposite approach: it focuses on your skills and accomplishments, while de-emphasizing chronological work history.

The hybrid resume aims to give you the best of both worlds. It includes detailed information on your chronological work experience, but also has specialized sections which allow you to highlight your unique competencies, accomplishments, and personal branding statements. Check out our examples: basic professional and advanced professional.


The hybrid resume’s main advantage is that it avoids some of the disadvantages of the other resume formats. A chronological template may not work for you if you’ve had several different types of jobs, because it may look scattered and unfocused. By giving you a place to include a branding statement and highlight your most relevant skills, the hybrid resume helps you bring a uniting thread to your resume, focusing the hiring manager’s mind on the best parts of your experience.

Likewise, a functional template can be risky because the unusual format can be off-putting to hiring managers. The hybrid resume allows you to use a more orthodox format which showcases your stable work history, while still giving you a place to emphasize your best skills and achievements.

Due to its flexibility, the hybrid resume can work well for most jobseekers. It is also the preferred format for mid-to-upper-level professionals such as managers and executives.


Although the hybrid resume works well for a large number of people, it is not the best choice for everyone. The functional format may work better for someone with a nontraditional work history (large gap, no relevant experience, etc.) or someone with a single-track career doing the same exact job at several different companies. Our best advice is to read about all three types, then choose the one which you believe would paint your experience in the best light.


Contact information: Your name, physical address (optional), phone number with area code, and email address. You may also include your LinkedIn URL and/or website URL.

Personalized Sections: This area has the flexibility to let you get creative. You may choose to start with a tagline, profile statement, or professional summary — some sort of brief statement to introduce who you are and what you have to offer. You may also have a section that lets you emphasize the best things you have to offer, in an attention-grabbing list at the top of your resume. You might call that section Key Skills, Achievements, Core Competencies, or Accomplishments. Depending on your field and career level, it may also be appropriate to include a list of Professional Memberships. Look at our two examples for inspiration, and if you’re still not sure what to include, check for examples of hybrid resumes online and in resume books.

Work History: Start with the most recent job and work your way back. Include the name of each company, city and state of the company’s location, your job title there, your dates of employment, and a job description. There are two different ways of handling the job description, as shown in our two different examples.

Our basic professional example lists each job duty as a separate bullet point. Your bullet points should start with strong action verbs and give a good general idea of what you did on the job. Make sure to highlight: awards or promotions, experience training or supervising others, using specialized software or equipment, leading workshops or presentations, and any other special achievements on the job.

Our advanced professional example has a different approach. For many management-level professionals, including the details of every job duty would be overwhelming. Instead, this resume starts each job description with a brief paragraph summarizing the job duties. The bullet points are reserved for specific accomplishments.

Education: This would be the place to include academic degrees (bachelor’s, master’s, etc.), vocational certifications (teaching license, LPN, etc.), and industry credentials (CPA, TWIC, OSHA, etc.). Remember to include the name and type of diploma earned, the name of the school, and the city and state. Depending on your field and career level, it may also be appropriate to include a subsection called Continuing Education or Professional Development, in which you’ll list the ongoing educational courses you have taken relevant to your field. Important note: do not include graduation dates for anything which is more than 15 years old. Doing so could make your degree look outdated and open you up to age discrimination.

References: Your references should not be part of your resume. References should be on a separate document, one which you only provide when it is asked for. You may include a line on your resume that says “References available upon request.”

In addition to these tips, you can come by the Career Center in person anytime during business hours for one-on-one help with your resume.

Written by Lynnette Lee.