Job Search For Executives Over 50

Exchange from the ExecuNet Online Forum

I just read an article in the local paper about job search for execs over 50 and it said to eliminate everything on your resume that suggests your age ie no jobs listed beyond 15-20 years ago, don’t list companies that went out of business some time ago, no dates for when college attended, military service, include working out or running as hobbies if you do them, write young, speak young and do your best to look young.In my case I run 40-50 miles/week and 5 hours/week of weight training so to me including that as a hobby (which I have never included before) probably could be of value but with all the rules about what a resume should and shouldn’t be these days, don’t want to get outside acceptable standards. I have been Pres/CEO/COO of companies for over 30 years, taken a $300M and a $10B company public and now that I actually have to look for work after starting, running and closing my own mortgage company, I’m shocked that I don’t even get calls on jobs I’m qualified or even over qualified for.

What thoughts do you career coaches have on this subject of resume change?

Thanks, Thomas


Hello Thomas,

I’ve heard the same things, but I think the whole “hide your age” thing is overplayed. There is value in those graying temples, especially with the kind of experience you have. It seems you’re trying to portray yourself as being much more youthful, rather than emphasizing the significant strengths you bring to a potential employer. Bottom line: If it is not related to your career take it off your resume!

In summary, don’t hide what got you here. The “ageism” thing is, in my humble opinion, overblown. Get your resume to two pages, concentrate on your key accountabilities and heavy-hitter key results, and then work it. Network for all you’re worth. It always does take time, but the same leadership skills that got you to the level you’ve attained now have to be focused on your REAL job……which is getting the next one.

Don’t Give Up!


Dear Peter,

Nicely said…well done! You provided great advice here for Thomas. I could not have said it better myself. Today’s forward thinking companies should be so lucky to have a senior group of employees on hand to train, mentor and coach the middle executives to be better at what they do so they will be BETTER MANAGERS OF PEOPLE once they move up into senior management. When the baby boomer retirement really starts to kick in (note: 1/3 of senior management will retire within the next 2 years!) and the top leaders of corporate America start their long-postponed exodus — most companies will be dying to have expert talent to help them survive and compete or they will fail!

Good Hunting!
Coach Mark

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