Monday, April 30, 2007

Coming Out of Retirement

I have been retired for two years and wish to return to work. How should I account for two missing years on my resume without it becoming an issue?
Thank you

by Catherine Sutton, Professional Resume Writer

Hi Ed,
Many people become busier than ever after they retire, and the key is to think creatively about what you’ve been doing and how it may be relevant to your new goal.

The most important thing to remember about a resume is that you want the reader to have a positive reaction to everything in (at least) the first half of the first page. So if you’ve been doing something which is barely or not at all connected with what you intend to pursue next, it’s probable that the functional resume format would work best for you.

The functional resume has a section called “Relevant Achievements” (preceding the chronological “History”), where you describe compelling achievements that portray you at your best, relevant to your desired new position. These achievements can be taken from anywhere in your paid and unpaid history.

In the “History” section that follows in the functional resume format, where you simply list your titles and places of work in reverse chronological order, include the two most recent years and describe in a few words what you’ve been up to. At this point, because it’s farther down on the resume, the reader will have already read all the great reasons you’d be good at the job, and those two years will seem less important. For ideas on how to describe what you’ve been doing during your employment gap, check out Disguising Employment Gaps by Susan Ireland.

However, if you’ve been working as a consultant on and off since you retired, or have been otherwise occupied in a way that you could describe as relevant to your job objective, use the chronological format. At the top of your work history, make an entry for those two years that says you’ve been a consultant (or whatever) in your field.

I hope this is helpful. And I wish you the very best in your job search.

Catherine Sutton has been a professional resume writer on Susan Ireland's team since 2002. She works with job seekers from all levels of employment in person or by phone and email.

Susan Ireland’s Two Cents
In addition to Catherine's excellent advice above, take a peek at Return to Work with a Winning Resume by Kim Isaacs.

In particular, I like her thoughts on cover letters:
Put Your Cover Letter to Work: Use your cover letter to explain why you temporarily stepped away from your career, emphasizing that you’re now available and excited about pursuing employment. Let your enthusiasm for reentering the workforce shine through your letter.

Job Lounger, do you have a question? Email ( it to me and I’ll post your question and an expert’s answer here in The Job Lounge.

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