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CV writing tips for the over-50s

Stewart Turner / 25 March 2015 ( 10 October 2018 )

Writing a CV is a daunting task at the best of times. If you’re over 50, there are even more things to consider. Here’s eight things you need to do if you want to get your CV noticed.

Always tailor your CV to each job, highlighting your most relevant skills.

1 Don’t put your date of birth on your CV

If you’re worried that a potential employer will clock your date of birth and move on to the next candidate, the good news is that there’s no obligation to put it on your CV. You don’t even need to include school or university graduation dates if you don’t want to.

2 Don’t make your CV any longer than two sides of A4

Many applications are done online now. But for any vacancy that requires a written application, remember that recruiters often have hundreds of candidates to wade through, so keep your CV short and punchy, and you’ll have a better chance of standing out from the crowd. If you’re struggling for space, just list your last ten years’ worth of work experience and summarise the rest in a short paragraph. 

Read our five tips for creating a killer LinkedIn profile.

3 Tailor your CV to each job you apply for

Don’t fire off the same CV left, right and centre to any job advert you come across. Study each vacancy and tweak your application by emphasising your most relevant skills and experience.

4 Boost your chances of employment by posting your CV online

While looking for vacancies online is probably your first port of call when you're job hunting, don't forget to create profiles on jobseeking sites as well - try Jobsite, Reed, Monster and Indeed. If you don't already have a profile on LinkedIn, make one - recruiters trawl this site to match vacancies with potential candidates.

Get in touch with old colleagues and ask them for a glowing reference to add to your page. You could find yourself in demand simply by taking a few minutes to post your CV online.

5 Make sure it looks good

Choose a clear, unfussy font and use good quality white paper if you’re sending a hard copy. Get a friend or partner to proofread your CV for any typos, spelling mistakes or errors.

 Job hunting? Not sure where to start? Read our guide.

6 Emphasise your experience

Experience is often more prized than education by a prospective employer, so strike a positive tone and list key achievements and positions before any academic qualifications.

Visit our Home and Garden section for gardening guides, home improvement tips and much more.

7 Make sure you account for any gaps

Don’t attempt to skirt over any periods you’ve spent out of work. Put a positive spin on things; maybe you’ve been heading up a group or committee during a period of unemployment? It’s all relevant, so if it sounds good, put it in.

8 Network, network, network

Here’s a mind boggling statistic: according to Louisa Peacock, the jobs editor at the Daily Telegraph, something like 80% of vacancies aren’t actually advertised, so it pays to put yourself out there. Look up old contacts, fire off your CV to relevant companies with a well-written covering email, and follow up with a phone call. It just might pay off.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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