The ABC’s of Resume Writing | “P” is for PRIOR

P: Bring PRIOR experience back to life.

One of the strategies in resume writing today is to highlight only your last 15 to 20 years of work experience. Experience older than 20 years is typically outdated or irrelevant to your current career path. Besides, going back farther than 20 years and listing dates of employment will definitely single you out as a “seasoned” professional and let’s face it in this competitive economy, this could be a definite disadvantage for your job search.But what if you want to highlight relevant experience from more than 20 years ago without appearing to be a candidate with too much experience? Use this unique strategy to revive older work history and give it a feeling of more recent experience.

Key Accomplishments

To make older experience appear more recent, create a section entitled “Key Accomplishments” and place it just before the “Professional Experience” section of your resume. In this section, place five to seven accomplishments that are relevant to your current career path and order them from most impressive to least impressive. You do not include dates here, but you do include the name of the company (in parentheses and at the end of the statement) where the accomplishment occurred. By doing this, you can call up relevant accomplishments that were made 20 or even 30 years ago that are still relevant to your current career path. This information will be seen first and could make the difference as to whether or not you get the interview. By omitting dates, you guard the fact that you may be an older candidate, however, you are able to diversify your experience by pulling out the most impressive accomplishments from throughout your career.

Highlight, but don’t repeat

Be sure not to repeat any of the accomplishments that you choose to include in the key accomplishments section. Select additional accomplishments for each position in your professional experience section of the resume. Make sure that these accomplishments are relevant to your current career goal and list them in order of importance, starting with the most important accomplishment first.

What about other elements from earlier in your career?

This strategy works well for accomplishments, but not so well for other elements, such as professional development, education, or community service. There is no advantage of including older information in these categories. When listing these details, it is better to focus on relevant data from the last 10 to 15 years.

Creating a section for key accomplishments will allow you to handpick relevant accomplishments from your career and tailor your resume to the position. This strategy is highly effective in positioning you as a viable candidate and can really propel your job search. Give it a try and see what happens.

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