How to Do a Resume When You Have a Lot of Experience
First of all, lucky you! You are blessed with career riches. However, you know that a resume shouldn’t span more than two pages, ideally one page. So how do you get your experience across without running out of room?
Don’t panic! It’s actually quite easy to do through two things. The first is to remember that your resume doesn’t require every bit of experience, duties, or responsibilities you had. You have a cover letter for more “real estate” in describing your experience as well as the interview. Your resume should include only the top highlights, accomplishments, achievements, awards, etc. The best of the best. That alone will cut back on how much is on the resume.
The next thing is to use our model of resumes pictured below. It’ll help as well. I’ll break it down for you.
The Summary of Qualifications is taking the very best, most impressive of your experience and placing it here. No more than five bullet points though. You want to keep it brief as this is the first thing the potential employer will read. Too long and they won’t read it. The idea is to be brief and impress them out the gate.
The Summary of Skills is designed for applicant tracking software. These bullet points should be keywords only: one to two words, like customer service or master carpenter. The idea is to pick out keywords from the job description and place them in this section. Your resume will more than likely be run through the applicant tracking software, and the software will be looking for certain keywords, like the ones they used in the job ad. Tailor this section for each job to ensure those keywords are there so your resume passes through the software and into the hands of a person.
The Professional Qualifications section is a major space saver. More than likely, if you’ve done the same sort of work throughout your career, you have the same experiences from several different jobs. By breaking them into skill groups rather than listing them under each job will save space. Take your skills, abilities, experience, achievements, etc. and separate them into skill groups, like Marketing Skills, Production Skills, or Clerical Skills. Again stick to the best of your abilities rather than losing yourself to the temptation of listing everything you’ve ever done. If you’re an administrative assistant with 15 years experience, the employer will assume you know how to file. They want to know what makes you unique so tell them how you coordinate the company wide annual meeting each year rather than that you can type.
Depending on your experience/career you may have several skill groups or just a couple; just keep them relevant to the jobs you are applying to. You may have fast food skills but if you’re applying to jobs for graphic design, leave those skills off.
Work History and Education is pretty straight forward. Two tips though. If you completed college, you can leave your high school education off. The hiring manager will know if you completed college that you completed high school, and you can keep a line for something else. For work history, if you worked at a lot of different places go back only 10-15 years. No need to list every job. Again, unless it’s pertinent or leaves a gap in your employment history, you can leave off those beginning jobs as a cashier or gas station attendant.
A quick note: although it’s not pictured on our resume, if you have honorable military history, ALWAYS include it. Put it between work history and education. You only need to put the branch, your leaving rank, and honorable discharge down. However, if you have specific training, like Information Technology, which you learned in the military and is applicable to the jobs you are applying to, be sure to mention that training in the education section.
There are other ways to trim your resume, too. Read “10 Things to Keep Off Your Resume” to make sure none of these things are included. As always, if you need help with your resume, our career centers are here to assist you with it. Just call for an appointment!