Lean Into Your Resume Gap
Whereas some older workers have to overcome the perception that they have too much experience, others need to explain a gap in their resume. If you stepped out of the workforce to raise children or care for parents or have been unemployed due to layoffs, you may be wondering how to handle it on your resume.
Fortunately, hiring managers are familiar with resume gaps, so this isnt necessarily a cause for alarm or worry. If youve been out of work for a while, dont try to hide it. Be honest and be prepared to address your resume gap positively and professionally if you land an interview.
To get that interview, list on your resume the years you held each position before you left the workforce. Also, be sure to include volunteer and community engagement work you may have done in the meantime. If you were on a board of directors or an advisory board, add that, along with officer roles with responsibilities in national organizations and associations, co-op boards, parent-teacher organizations, and so on. List any achievements or skills you attained in those roles that meet the requirements of the job for which youre applying.
Where To Put Your Work Experience On A Resume
The role and importance of your employment history section depends on the type of the resume you choose to write.
Depending on where youre in your career, you can choose to write either a chronological, functional or combination resume.
- Chronological resume is built around the employment history section. Great for professionals with several years of work experience. Presents information in reverse-chronological order, with the most recent events being placed first. The most commonly used resume style. Order of sections: Contact Information > Professional Summary > Work Experience > Education > Skills > Others.
- Functional resume puts forward your your skills, accomplishments, job traits and personal characteristics. Great for fresh graduates, students, and people who are changing careers in other words, for those who might already have the skills but lack experience. Contact Information > Professional Summary / Resume Objective > Skills / Projects > Work History / Education > Others.
- Combination resume contains elements of both the chronological and functional formats by including your relevant skills and accomplishments first and then detailing your employment history and education. Great for students, fresh graduates or career changers who dont really fit elsewhere.
In most cases, your work experience section should come right after your contact info and professional summary.
There Is No Need To Mention The Exact Figures:
When you are writing your salary history on your resume, there is no compulsion to mention exact figures. You are free to mention the range of your salary. Companies merely ask for salary history to get an idea of how much you have earned and to see whether or not they can afford to pay you anything near that amount.
There would be no point calling you in for an interview if they are not even willing to pay you anything near to what you received in the past, let alone anything more. This having been stated, some companies need you to mention the exact figures. So make sure, you mention your information accordingly.
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Mistake #: Not Putting Facts Numbers And Accomplishments
If your resume employment history is full of phrases like, Responsible for, then youre missing a big opportunity to impress employers.
They want to see specific accomplishments in a past position, like, Led a team of 4 people to reorganize client on-boarding program, resulting in a 23% increase in client retention year-over-year.
How Far Back Should Your Employment History Go
My advice here is the same advice I give for how back to go with your story when they ask, tell me about yourself in an interview.
If youve been working for less than 8-10 years, Id go back to the beginning of your professional work history, and try to tailor everything to be relevant for the jobs youre pursuing now.
You might be thinking theres nothing in common between your prior professional experience and the jobs you want now, but theres usually an angle you can find!
Heres an example of how you may have relevant experience in your background even if youre an entry level job seeker or applying to a totally new type of position:
When I was in college, I worked in customer service at Whole Foods Market. Not too glamorous, right?
But I became a supervisor, and;youd be amazed how many interviewers asked me about this job, even after 4-5 years had passed .
So dont assume something isnt relevant. If you showed advancement/growth, leadership, or other impressive traits, employers will love it. Its your job to;make the bullet points impressive;and show them how its relevant.
Now, on the other hand, if youve worked more than 10 years, and/or if you are a Manager/Director, etc., consider starting your resume work history at the point you became a manager.
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Elaborate Formats And Designs
When it comes to selecting a design for your resume, less is more. Not only do elaborate designs and unconventional formats confuse most applicant tracking systems, but they also annoy recruiters who are accustomed to quickly scanning a resume for specific information they expect to find in particular spots within the document. Don’t make recruiters hunt for the information they care about. Play it safe and stick to a clean resume design with a clear hierarchy. Not sure what works? Check out TopResume’s library of free resume samples.
Highlight Former Achievements In A New Way
Of course, if you’ve got an impressive accomplishment or title sitting outside that two-decade limit, include it.
“If 30 years ago is the role where you discovered a patent still in use today, you ought to mention that,” says Ceniza-Levine.
You have a few different options for how you chose to work that information in. If a title you’ve held or company you’ve worked for is likely to impress a recruiter, consider a section called “earlier work history” or something similar where you can simply list previous jobs, by noting only the title, company and location, says Amanda Augustine, a career coach with TopResume. Or you could try including it in a “career notes” or “career highlights” section at the bottom of your current work experience by writing something like: “additional experience working for ABC company or serving clients like XYZ,” adds Augustine.
If the role you want to include is one where you did discover a patent or win an impressive industry award, you could also draw attention to this by folding such an achievement into the summary statement, which is typically a short paragraph at the top of your resume that acts as an elevator pitch to readers selling your skills and experience. Or you could include it in a section following your work history that lists awards or accomplishments you’ve earned over the course of your career.
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Consider Using A Functional Cv
If you have several jobs with similar experience or need to highlight achievements gained in earlier roles, a more skills-based / functional CV might work better. This will help in highlighting relevant, and toning-down unrelated experience. After all, your CVs main goal is to demonstrate to the recruiter exactly what qualifies you for the role youre applying to.
Its All About Relevancy
When it comes to placing old work experience on your resume, Aikman says to focus on relevancy. If you did something in high school or college that is more relevant to what you are trying to do than other recent experiences, then Aikman says you absolutely should include it because it adds to your qualifications.
For those with a large gap in their employment, filling out a job application or going to an interview might be nerve-wrecking if youre worried an employer will notice how far back your resume goes. But if you accomplished things in your personal life that you are proud of, you can find ways to showcase those accomplishments on your resume as relevant experience.
For example, if there is a gap in your employment because you had to care for a family member or loved one, you can explain what you learned or accomplished through that experience in a way that showcases the relevant work to the job you are now applying to. Maybe that experience taught you how to manage another persons lifeso you can showcase why youd be a great assistant or general manager.
;It just comes down to pulling out the relevant words to describe what you did, says Aikman. It may mean you need to be skilled in how you present the information, because you may not be able to use the language you used before. Think about how you can communicate this experience using language that will resonate with the employer.
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Work Experience Section Example
Automotive Technician,;Icahn Automotive, Rotorua, New Zealand
- Repaired various cars and trucks. Troubleshot and diagnosed vehicles. Repaired or replaced defective parts. Ensured that everything was in compliance with the companys high standards and clients needs.
- Awarded Employee of the Month for increasing customer satisfaction with provided services from 87% to 95% within one year.
Executives can use more than one page on their resume to present their extensive work experience. But that doesnt mean that you should let your resume become a 700-page long autobiography.
If somethings recent it also means its more relevant. Thats why you should describe more recent jobs in greater detail. Older ones will do with a brief description, allowing you to save some valuable space for more important details to put on your resume.
Be Sure To Check For Any Mistakes Or Typing Errors:
When making your resume you have to include some things, like your skills, educational qualifications, and even your awards and achievements. Things like this are not very tough to list. However, trying to recall and type your salary history is not as easy as you might think it to be.
So this having been stated, ensure that you make no mistakes or typing errors when filling in your details or it could spell disaster for you. Be sure to check at least twice whether what you have mentioned is correct. Any error on your resume will reflect badly on you as a person.
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How Far Back Should Work History On An Application Go
Posted: If you include too much work history, you risk overwhelming your prospective employer and not getting called for an interview. Thus, you should cut it off at about 10 years. However, if you have worked at one job for more than 10 years, put the correct start and end dates of that job so employers can get a sense of your company loyalty.
Stick To The Most Relevant Information
Why 10 to 15 years, you ask? Well, thats the timeframe recruiters and employers perceive as most relevant. Recruiters arent interested in your accomplishments as an entry-level employee if youve been in the field for 20 years. And even if youre early in your career, they dont necessarily need to know about a paper route on a resume slated for a tech position.
Your resume should be a high-level summary of your relevant professional accomplishments, not a dissertation of all your jobs and responsibilities since middle school. Recruiters and hiring managers want to quickly see why youre the right person for this job, and your experience in the past decade or so is most likely the reason. So think twice before you let non-essential information take up real estate on your resume. Instead use that space to shine a light on applicable achievements, experiences, and positions that more closely align with the jobs youre targeting.
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Resume Sample And Tips For Older Job Seekers
Posted: Mar 24, 2020 ;· Resume Tips for Older Job Seekers. Limit Your Related Experience. Limit the related experience you include on your resume to 10 to 15 years, leaving older jobs off your resume entirely. Alternatively, you can include the older jobs in another section of your resume, but dont list the dates when you …
How Many Jobs Should I List On My Resume
There is no limit to the listing of jobs on your resume. You can list as much as you want so far the jobs provided are all relevant and you are not going above the 10 years limit.
If the skills you implemented 10 years ago is still very relevant and effective, you can list it as a part of your job positions. To list old jobs on your resume, check out the template below.
1. Work experience above 10 years
IT HELP DESK ANALYST; 2010 2020
XYZ Company Sometown TX
Note: Use bullet to highlight and summarize your main duty
2. Work experience with a different employer and similar experience
Lets say you carried out the same responsibilities under different employers, here is how to list your experience:
IT SUPPORT OFFICER; 2012 2019XYZ Company | 2015 2019
Note: Summarize your duties using one or two bullet point
3. Same employer different job positions
ABC Company ;; 2014 2013HELP DESK ANALYST | 2009 2013HELP DESK TECHNICIAN | 2014 2017
Note: Summarize your duties using bullet point
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How Many Years Back Should A Resume Go
Want to know how many years back should your resume go? There is one very important rule:;resume should go back a maximum of 10 to 15 years.;After all, this is logical, because no one wants to read 20 years old memoirs . Recruiters simply dont have time for this!;
The latest information that may be in your document should not be older than 2005. Remember this! Even if in the late 90s you were working in the New York Times, and now you have been unemployed for 10-15 years , this information will not help you .
Any data has an expiration date, and for a resume, it is no more than 15 years. Why is this so important? Here are a few reasons:;
- Your professionalism should always remain relevant, and 15 years is too long to save some skills and abilities.;
- The recruiter will not read the document, which consists of more than 5 pages.;
- Employers prefer to hire young and very experienced professionals. If your career began more than 15 years ago, you are no longer young, but perhaps very experienced. In this case, in the last few years, you should occupy only high positions .
How Many Jobs On Your Resume Is Too Many
There are a few different answers for this depending on the industry you are in. But, rule of thumb is that you should only go back around 10-15 years on your resume. Heres why.
It keeps your resume relevant
Your resume is only looked at for a few secondsso you want to make sure its clear and relevant. Employers dont care what you did more than 15 years ago, and its better left off your resume.
Start with the most recent job and work back from that. Irrelevant information will usually land your resume in the do not interview pile.
It gets rid of clutter
Including every job you have ever had will make your resume looked cluttered and messy.
If you only add your most recent work experience, youll keep your resume to only a few pages long. This is what most HR experts recommend, because employers just dont have time to read a 10 page resume.
Keeping it short and relevant, and including key words, will help an employer make a quick decision about whether youre the best match for the position.;;
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Multiple Jobs From Same Company On Your Resume
Posted: If you held numerous positions with one employer, the above list of job titles will start to take up valuable space on your resume. Summarize your early job titles using one line of text. For example: COMPANY NAME – City, State, 2/01 to present. Store Manager, 8/03 to present. Assistant Manager, 5/02 to 8/03.
Are You Up To Par
PAR stands for Problem Action Results and is a good starting point for thinking about your accomplishments. What types of challenges did you face? What actions did you take to overcome the problems? What was the result of your efforts, and how did your performance benefit the company? Write down a list of your accomplishments and incorporate the most impressive ones into your resume.
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Mistake #: Having Your Employment History Start Below The First Half Of Page 1
Youll notice in the work history samples earlier, this section starts early on the resume. Making a hiring manager or recruiter go digging in your resume to find this section is a big mistake.
Put it front and center . You want your recent experience and achievements to be dead-easy to find for any company you send your resume to.
Thats one of the best tips I can share in general: Dont make employers go digging for your recent responsibilities and achievements on your resume. It should jump out of the page at them because it should contain a lot of content compared to other sections, and it should appear high up.