When it comes to job hunting, your background and experience are so important. We all know that employers are on the lookout for potential employees with a resume filled with interesting job roles and multiple achievements throughout their career… aren’t they? Or is there a point when too much experience becomes a bad thing?
Is it possible to have too much experience on your resume?
I often get this question from clients. Many clients, especially in IT and high tech industries, may worry that their years of experience may actually make them appear out of date or simply unqualified for the job. This sounds terrible and totally unfair (and not to mention, discriminatory!), but is this something you need to worry about?
Here are a few questions I like to ask clients who are worried about having TOO MUCH EXPERIENCE.
1. How long is your resume?
I see many clients who have long resumes that include every detail of work they’ve performed in every job they’ve ever had. While it’s awesome to be proud of your experience, and you should be, there’s such a thing as too much information.
My rule of thumb is keep your resume to 2 pages, and if you feel you must simply add more information, proceed with caution. You should be able to describe your skills, jobs and education within 2 pages, and if it’s any longer, you run the risk of the employer missing your crucial skills.
Keep in mind that most employers only scan a resume for 30 seconds. You don’t want an employer to scan your resume and miss the important details because they were reading about a job you performed 20 years ago. You want to highlight recent, relevant experience that will land you your dream job!
2. What position are you looking for… and is that experience reflected in your resume?
As I just mentioned, many clients include a lot of information. And that’s great, if you have over 20 years of experience, I totally understand that you’ve done a lot and you really want to reflect that background in your resume. But you have to ask yourself, is this experience really relevant to the job I want now? If it’s not, cut it from your resume.
If you want to highlight experience from 10+ years ago, think about ways you can reflect that experience in your current job. For example, if you want to highlight project management experience you gained fifteen years ago, see if there is a way to describe projects you’ve managed in your current role. This will get the attention of the employer and seem much more relevant!
3. Are there a lot of positions listed on your resume?
If you’ve only worked for three different companies in the last 20 years, then it’s not a big deal to describe those companies and the experience you gained there. However, if you’ve worked for 12 different companies, it doesn’t make sense to include all of the positions plus all of the details of the experience you gained there.
The solution I recommend is adding an “Additional Experience” section. This section can include job titles, companies, locations and dates of older positions, so they’re still included but aren’t taking up a lot of room on your resume. This leaves room for you to focus on your most recent, relevant jobs!
If you ask yourself these three questions regarding your resume, and take a long hard look at your experience, I think you’ll find it quite easy to cut irrelevant, outdated experience and highlight only your most recent and relevant skills!
Keep in mind that it’s not about having too much experience. It’s about highlighting your best and most relevant experience (and removing anything that distracts from that!)
By the way, if you need resume help, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. I offer multiple resume writing and career coaching packages that can help you finally land your ideal job.