How to Highlight Early Work Experience on Your Resume (Without Appearing ‘Old’)
Let’s say you are a 40+ year old professional that has tremendous work history, valuable experience, wonderful skill-sets, and outstanding achievements. The challenge…some of those great work experiences happened more than 15 or 20 years ago. Why is this even an issue? Because – typically we only include the last 10-15 years of work history.
Many of my clients wonder why we only include this ‘recent’ job history. In general, your recent job experiences tend to be the most relevant to today’s job market. When the position is older, it often means that technology used, processes involved, and methods for completing tasks are completely different today. But, if you are in a field such as sales or management—while the processes may have changed—the nature of the business has stayed the same. Building relationships are key, mentoring and coaching team members is important, and communicating effectively will make you a super-star.
So, what’s the solution to including both recent and earlier information—without appearing ancient to the hiring manager? In this instance, I often break work history into two separate sections. One is called Recent Professional History or Professional Experience. That covers this most recent period of the last 10-15 years. Then, I’ll include a separate section (broken up by an actual heading) that is called Earlier Career History or Previous Work History. The trick? The history that is older does NOT get any dates associated with it. That way, we are including those highlights and achievements without drawing attention to the fact that it may have been 20 years ago.
Keep in mind that you most recent job history should be the longest and each job (as it goes back in time) tends to get less space on your resume. Once again, this goes to the idea that older information probably isn’t as relevant as your current position may be to your future job opportunity.
Dates can be tricky when it comes to your resume and it’s important to think about the perception of your application as it winds its way through the company’s applicant tracking system and human resources department.
Do you still have questions about your resume? Wondering how it stacks-up when compared to today’s hiring standards? Contact us today for a free resume review!
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