RESUME FOOD FOR THOUGHT SERIES
UPDATED ON 12/13/2021
Any work experience does wonders to any resume, but too much of a good thing can backfire like anything else.
Last week, I brought up the dilemma on titles. We can either use our actual titles that our past employers have given us or choose more accurate titles that best reflect our accomplishments. Legitimate reasons exist on both sides, and it is up to us as individuals to decide which works better.
This week, I want to bring up experience.
For those of us who have less than 10 years, including all experiences is unlikely to be a problem.
It’s folks with 15, 20 years of seasoned experience who have the most trouble. Not only do we list 10 accomplishments under every job we ever had, but we also note every job we ever had since high school. The end product would be an 8-page resume, and no one is ever going to read an 8-page resume.
So how much is too much to write in our resumes?
All Experiences vs. The Last 15 Years
When it comes to listing experiences, there are two schools of thinking.
Most modernists believe in including only the last 10 to 15 years of experience because we remember and are more proficient in what we have done during more recent years than the ones we did earlier in our careers. This makes later experiences more relevant.
However, people on the other end of the spectrum would say, “Wait. I want to see how you have progressed in your career from the every beginning. For all I know, you could have gotten the director position because your boss simply liked you at happy hour and not because you really have credentials.”
As job seekers, we have no way to determine which end of the spectrum the hiring managers land, so what do we do?
My philosophy lands right in the middle.
List all positions we ever had after graduating from school.
However, for experiences completed over 15 years ago, descriptions are unnecessary unless those early accomplishments are relevant to your current stature and/or target position.
Also, if we have overlapping jobs that happened at the same time, keep the ones that are more significant and eliminate side hustles that really do not give us a boost.
If we do have over 15 years of experience and decide to exclude anything older than that, stating your graduating year from school is optional. Many older candidates use this tactic to compete with the youngsters. Keep in mind, though, that when we do get interviewed, the interviewers will finally put a face to the words.
At that point, it’s our interviewing skills that come into play, so make sure to brush those up.
You Are Who You Are
No one can deny our experiences, for our experiences create our lives. Each individual lives his or her own colorful life.
Be proud of it.
Nonetheless, our resumes only have so much space, so be strategic.
I am all for including all positions on resumes. However, it does not mean we need to describe every single one, especially if they are unrelated to who we are right now or where we want to be next.
For the jobs that end up on the editing room floor, save them for story time at happy hour.
Speaking of fitting all our experiences in a short marketing document, come back next week as I expose the truth about resume length.