Age and your job search
Dear Sam: I have been pouring through some of your most recent columns and though you have offered what appears to be well-thought-out strategies for reworking a rÃ©sumÃ© with three to five years of experience, I have an altogether different issue. Having had a company recently close around me, I have found myself in unfamiliar territory having 20+ years of experience encompassing multiple industries and job functions. I have produced many versions of my rÃ©sumÃ© in an attempt to better tailor this information to the reader. I have gratefully accepted help from all comers but am still not happy with the result. â Eric
Dear Eric: I am sorry to hear of your company closing and am happy to offer some insight into how you could improve the effectiveness of your rÃ©sumÃ©. I should note that a good percentage of my columns are focused on the more mature candidate, so look through a few more columns and you will see many that focus exclusively on candidates with significant experience.
Based on a quick scan of your rÃ©sumÃ©, I noticed one major concern that could potentially derail your search: You have absolutely no dates on your rÃ©sumÃ©. This is a glaring red flag to hiring managers and typically the omission of dates paints a far worse picture than reality. I do think pulling key accomplishments out and placing them in a highlights section on page one is the way to go, but you must add some dates to your professional experience section.
As you are a VP/C-level leader, a hiring manager would expect to see a significant amount of experience on your rÃ©sumÃ©, so going back into the early â90s and possibly even the late â80s would be somewhat expected. You do not need to cut your experience short, remove all dates, or do anything else so drastic when you are a senior-level manager seeking to stay at that level; after all, to be at that level one assumes you are coming with significant experience and exposure.
Follow these tips to improve the effectiveness of your rÃ©sumÃ©:
1. Target, target, target! Be sure you know how you are positioning yourself in your rÃ©sumÃ©. It is imperative to send a consistent message, showcase areas of expertise, and differentiate your candidacy by presenting a very targeted picture of what you have done which positions you for what you now want to do!
2. Remove focus on the number of years of experience you possess if you are concerned it ages you. Within the first sentence of your rÃ©sumÃ© you are stating that you offer â20+ years of extensive experienceâ¦â By doing this you are immediately doing what you are trying not to do! You do not need to present a total of the number of years of experience you possess; let readers add that up if they are interested. Instead, be sure your summary focuses on just the highlights and key contributions associated with your candidacy.
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