Keep resume conciseOlder job seekers commonly make the mistake of presenting a resume that is chronologically formatted, says Jim Nanjo, a spokesman for Senior Employment Resources, a Virginia-based job placement service for older workers.
This type of resume focuses too much attention on past accomplishments and risks overshadowing current talents, Nanjo says.
"A good portion of employers today seem to be saying, 'What is it that you can do for me? What is it that you bring in areas of expertise?' Never mind what you've done in the past," he says.
Nanjo says chronologically formatted resumes can also spotlight unintended things about the candidate.
"A resume that's done in chronological order also just highlights how old you are," he says.
Most older job seekers are better served by a resume that highlights skills, Nanjo says.
Generally, functional resumes that list contact information and job skills at the top -- with education and employers listed later in the document -- are preferred by time-strapped recruiters who often scan hundreds of resumes for a single job posting.
If you list the dates you worked for a specific employer, don't make the mistake of reaching too far back into your employment history. Such information may be less relevant in some industries.
"If it's technology-related, don't mention anything beyond 10 or 15 years because that's ancient history, and they really don't care," Nanjo says.
For important experience that goes further back, list what was relevant about that job rather than the dates you were employed.
"Describe how you did that particular skill and what the outcome was, which is a lot better for employers to have a better understanding of whether or not you are a good fit and whether you have the skills that they are looking for in that particular job," says Deborah Russell, director of workforce issues at AARP.
Remain flexibleThe best job pickings are increasingly found higher up the fruit tree. A willingness to stretch a little can put those opportunities within reach.
For example, the mid-career executive used to eating lunch at the local bistro every day or heading home on the early train every Friday may want to trade in those old habits and approach the job search with a clean slate.
"The landscape is changing," says Jan Cannon, an author and experienced career adviser. "You may have to get used to doing your own work and assuming tasks that you may have had support staff doing."
It also pays to do some soul-searching to determine salary expectations before setting out on the job search, says Cannon, whose books include, "Now What Do I Do? The Woman's Guide to a New Career" and "Find a Job: 7 Steps to Success."
Recruiters often ask about salary expectations. Giving the wrong answer could blow your chances of getting hired.
It's better to delay agreeing on a final number until you've researched what comparable positions are paying in a particular market, Cannon says.
"If you ask for an $80,000 salary and the employer is not willing to pay that much, you may price yourself out of a job," she says. "On the other hand, if you ask for $80,000 but the job is paying $100,000, the employer may suspect that you don't have the skill set required for the job."