The Modern Resume

The Modern Resume

“Employers are only interested in the most recent 15 years,” the Director of the career and professional development at my college told me. (I was a 64 year old college senior at the time!) I whimpered that in the recent past I had only been doing volunteer work and taking care of dying family members.

“But I had a very impressive 30 years before that,” I added

He replied, “Baby Boomers are going to have to learn to sell their talents, not their birthdays.”


Again – our best, first friend should be the AARP website.

It defines two different resume choices: one based on the traditional, chronological model, and the other based on abilities and accomplishments. The first of these styles, you already know. It will not serve those of us well who have many years of work history – whether in lots of jobs or in a few. It is the second type we should use.

Begin with a summary – Having already gone through this with LinkedIn, this step should be easier. Here, though, keep the summary short and broad. For example:

I have had a thirty-plus year career in sales, sales management, marketing, and public relations for small and large companies in both the public and private sector. Throughout my career, I have hired and trained my own staff, reviewed, and recorded their progress, and made terminations when necessary. I have been responsible for the financial success of my projects, in charge of planning all budgets and justifying those to upper management. I have created and implemented publicity and marketing campaigns and programs to expand the customer base; all to significant success

Follow the summary with the important jobs held, from present to years past. (Some advisors say this list should include dates, AFTER the company name. Others eliminate dates altogether. All agree that you should begin with current position and some mention of reason why you are considering a change.) Each position should include a specific success story.  For example:

Current Position:

Galactic Sales Director – McConaughey Stellar Communications, Constellation Orion.  In this exciting position I have overcome many unexpected challenges, including learning a new language, adapting our company’s equipment to meet the visual needs of the three-eyed residents of that galaxy, and exceeding sales expectations by 300 percent. While the people of this region are very friendly, I find that I miss Earth and am eager to channel this exceptional experience  into a rewarding position on my home world.

Previous Positions:

South Texas Sales Director – Hathaway Farm Equipment. Despite a decade-long drought, I managed a ten percent increase in equipment sales and a loyal client base for three years.

Weather Communication Systems, Sales and Publicity – The Storm Channel. Through this small company, I gained great skills at adapting communication equipment and seeking out unusual opportunities to engage potential customers. I expanded the sales volume by 50 percent in two years.

(Hey, I’m a fan of Interstellar.)

Follow the jobs list with your education, including any specific awards, projects, or training and, again, some advisors say that the years should be noted, others do not. End with address and contact info, as well as any brief statement you consider helpful, such as “willing to relocate.” Do not include vital statistics or social security number.

Note that this is your “basic resume.” When actually applying for a specific job, you need to adapt this resume to touch on some points specific to that job.


Watch this space for additional suggestions