20+ Years of Experience and Your Résumé Is A Novel? Time to Condense!

If your résumé is longer than two pages, keep reading. 

A common question many tenured professionals ask is how to best fit 20 years of experience into one to two pages on their résumé.  

It’s understandable to want to reflect all of the hard work accomplished spanning 20 long years. The problem is not in sharing the things accomplished through hard work, it is how to communicate the key accomplishments so that it effectively maintains relevance within today’s business environment. While it may appear overwhelming, with a little organization, a novel length résumé can easily be reduced to one or two pages. 

The following are a few tips to help condense the tenured résumé:

Writing for the reader will help you stay focused on only including relevant information.

1)   Write for the reader:  Think about what the recruiter and hiring manager want to know.
Use the position job description from multiple companies as a guide.

2)  Stay relevant to the targeted position.  No more “general, one-size-fits-all” résumés.  Any information not relevant to the targeted position should be left out. 

3)  Keep only relevant information that is 10 years or less.  It will be a blow to the ego, but in today’s technological environment, any experience past 10 years will likely be irrelevant today.  If there are relevant soft-skills that can be highlighted, include the job experience under “Related Experience.” Include a concise statement that modernizes the experience.

     The following are examples of modernized accomplishment statements to describe dated experience:

Describing the system upgrade from Lotus Notes to Microsoft in 1995:

·   Applied change management principles to achieve team buy-in during a system upgrade driving 75% increased efficiency. 
·   Facilitated the full-scale project management of a company-wide system upgrade within a record three months through team engagement and setting aggressive goal targets.  
Separating responsibilities and accomplishments allows a smoother flow. 

4)  Separate responsibilities from accomplishments.  This will allow the reader to quickly and clearly find your responsibilities and accomplishments. Accomplishment statements should answer the questions; What? How? and Result? (Go back to bullet-point 2 and identify the what, how and result for each accomplishment statement). Learn more on how to write effective accomplishment statements at the NetKi Enterprises Career Channel on YouTube: How to write Fantastic Accomplishment Statements!

Include metrics (numbers) in the resume. It punctuates your story!
5)     Include metrics. Numbers tell a convincing story! It tells the company what’s in it for them. Including that you saved the company $250K is more compelling than a broad statement that you saved the company money. 

A target position and career summary help the reader to quickly
assess if you are the right candidate. 

6)  Always include a summary profile and target position. (Located within the top third of the résumé and should summarize your career).  This is the time to concisely share your greatest career accomplishments and your span of responsibility.  Keep it short and relevant.
(For example, refrain from listing that you categorized the company cassette tape or cd collection or created a new template in Lotus Notes).

7)  Have an active professional social media presence. Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Does the verifiable content such as position titles, companies, dates etc. match your résumé? Stay active by posting, participating in discussion groups and writing articles.

Having an active professional social media presence and confidence illustrates that
you are engaged in your industry. 
8)   Stay confident!  Your experience is valuable to a company!  Don’t compare yourself to others. Recognize that the Package of YOU is unique, there is no competition.

Condensing a 20-year career within two pages is a humbling, yet rewarding experience.  Taking the time to condense a tenured résumé will allow you to realize the value and relevancy of your career accomplishments.  Don’t let all of the articles about millennials intimidate you from sharing your talent with a company that needs your experience.   

I’d be happy to review and answer any questions you may have regarding how to condense a tenured career. 

Nanette Kirk is the President and CEO of NetKi Enterprises, A résumé writing, and motivational services company. We are taking a step to improve our perspective and help our clients reach newer heights in their career. I’d love to hear from you! Connect with me on LinkedIn at Nanette Kirk, MBA to receive career related information and leads on job opportunities.  


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