Having 10+ years of work experience is an asset to any job, yet it can be an obstacle to getting hired. If you paste all of your experience into one long resume, it can become overwhelming for a hiring manager. They likely won’t even look at it long enough to absorb any information about you.
But how is it possible to edit down over 10 years of experience into one, concise page? It’s easier than it sounds!
1. Focus On What’s Relevant
When you have a ton of experience, it’s highly unlikely that all of it is going to be an asset at the job you’re currently applying for. “Dial into what you’re currently doing or what’s most relevant to the job you’re applying for,” says Style Nine to Five’s Founder, Christie Lohr. That being said, you now have two options.
One is to pick out everything most relevant to the career path that you’re intending to go down moving forward. Maybe you want to be a journalist and have 10+ years of experience in the communications industry. A history in communications is definitely a step forward to becoming a journalist, but if a position wasn’t writing or research-heavy, then you can leave it off of your application.
The other option is to tailor your resume to each new job you apply to. If you’re open to more types of jobs, or using as much of your skillset as possible, you can keep different versions of your resume and mix and match your experience according to each new job posting you find.
2. Highlight Your Accomplishments
To truly prove your worth as a candidate, you should consider cutting down your resume to only the highest points of your career history. Of course, these highlights should all still be relevant to the job you’re applying to. That being said, you can cut down on a lot of excess by going straight to your biggest accomplishments.
Let’s say at one of your retail jobs you were promoted to manager extremely quickly – if you’ve already listed all of your responsibilities at a prior retail job you’ve had, you can cut them out of the managerial position and open with how many months it took you to get promoted. From there, go into examples of successes that you lead your team to.
“Make your experience really stick with the hiring manager by backing it up with metrics that prove your performance,” suggests Christie. This is a great way to highlight accomplishments of yours – metrics operate as evidence that every skill you say you have is actually useful. Anyone can say that they’re great at social media marketing, but it’s more meaningful when you get specific – for example, how many followers your marketing created.
3. Cut the Fluff
“Be sure not to overwhelm the hiring manager by including every little detail on your resume,” says Christie. Think of all the extra details that are used to pad out applications – and then get rid of them completely.
“Omit filler soft skills and an objectives section,” advises Christie. An objective section is unnecessary if you’re not switching industries, and most soft skills can be implied through other sections – if you state that you worked within a team, putting “teamwork” in your skills is just redundant.
But, aside from all of your job responsibilities in your resume and how they tie into the job you’re applying to in your cover letter, what else are you supposed to fill the smaller spaces with? Are there any little details that are necessary to include? “Focus on hard skills,” answers Christie. Remove time management and problem-solving from your skills section, but emphasize your years of experience in videography, Photoshop or whatever else is in your arsenal – the more specific, the better.
While it’s impossible to fit everything you’d like into the application package, there’s room for more elsewhere. On your application, link your LinkedIn or personal website so the hiring manager can look for further details. The interview process will also give you the opportunity to bring up the other relevant experience you had to keep out of your application, especially if they bring up gaps between jobs. In the end, all your years of experience are still a huge advantage!
Want to sweeten up your application package even more? Purchase a Style Nine to Five Job Application Template!
Emily Morrison is a media professional with passions for writing, film and popular culture.
Feature Image: Adobe Stock