Find out how to condense a long work history in this Ask a Job Coach segment with Holly Leyva.

Ask a Job Coach: How Do I Address My Long Work History?

Holly Leyva of Virtual Vocations

“What you really need to focus on is the content of your resume. Write the content toward your future career goals. Research job descriptions and create a list of keywords and key phrases employers are looking for, then make sure you sprinkle those throughout your resume.”

Holly Leyva

Division Manager of Customer and Career Services, Virtual Vocations

In the Virtual Vocations inaugural installment of Ask a Job Coach, we talk to our very own Holly Leyva, manager of Customer and Career Services for Virtual Vocations about how to condense a long work history onto a resume. As a certified resume writer and job coach, Leyva weighs in on how to properly consolidate decades of experience into a resume that employers can scan and gather information about your work history. By doing so, you can circumvent the “no pile” and find yourself on the hiring shortlist.

How Do I Condense a 30-Year Career onto a One-Page Resume?

It isn’t necessary to condense a 30-year career into a one-page resume. The antiquated notion that resumes have to be one page is no longer viable. Furthermore, I’m not sure it ever was a steadfast rule.

As a general guideline, career histories shorter than 10 years are more appropriate for a one-page resume. Longer careers can be two or even three pages depending on your career level. But there are no hard and fast rules for resume length. Tailoring it to the specific role and the job level is far more integral.

Therefore, what you really need to focus on is the content of your resume. Write the content toward your future career goals. Research job descriptions and create a list of keywords and key phrases employers are looking for, then make sure you sprinkle those throughout your resume. Use keywords in context, such as in the summary. In addition, use relevant bullet points to make your resume scannable and easy to read. You can also create a key skills section and list up to a dozen skills to increase your match rate with applicant tracking systems (ATS) and job descriptions.

How Do I Address an Extensive Amount of Past Experience?

Employers want to see your most recent relevant experience. I would recommend listing the last 10-15 years of experience in an expanded format. Show your job scope and then three to five bulleted accomplishments that relate to your current career target and goals. Make sure to include job titles, keywords, and key phrases employers are looking for in this section so you score well on ATS.

If you have relevant experience beyond 15 years, list this in a more condensed format under a section entitled “Earlier Professional Experience or Additional Experience”. Make certain to list your job title and the name of your employer or company. However, don’t worry about putting dates for these jobs. If the job scope or an accomplishment in that role is relevant to your target role, consider adding one to three lines for each experience entry in this section. Include keywords and key phrases in this section as well.

What Are Some Tips for Age-Proofing a Resume?

  1. Focus on your recent relevant experience.
  2. Limit your Professional Experience section to the last 10 to 15 years.
  3. If you have older relevant experience, include that in an “Earlier Career” section showing only the job title and company, but no dates.
  4. Highlight your technical skills so employers know that you are up to date.
  5. Use a modern font and a clean modern resume style.
  6. Make sure to use an updated email address that includes a combination of your first name and last name. A Gmail account is recommended, but the most important thing it to use a legitimate, professional email address.
  7. Do not include any dates or numbers in your email address.

Experience is never a detriment to an aspiring remote job candidate. Yet due diligence in creating a cohesive document that’s scannable and relevant—that also passes the applicant tracking system test—can turn your hard work into new career opportunities. Don’t be shy about your career milestones and accomplishments. When everything comes together on your resume and you follow some age-proofing resume tips, you just might find that condensing your long work history was the most difficult obstacle on your path to success.

Job Coach Bio

Holly Leyva of Virtual Vocations

Holly joined Virtual Vocations in 2011 after deciding to take a break from corporate life to focus on her family. She enjoys using the skills and experience gained from her previous role as a corporate trainer and hiring manager to coach job seekers in their career search strategy so they can achieve success and satisfaction in their careers.

She has earned certifications in both resume writing (ACRW) and career coaching (CPCC), is an “Ask the Experts” contributor for the National Association of Resume Writers, and has been featured in several online publications. When she is not working, Holly enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, hiking, and learning something new every day.

Do you have questions to ask a job coach about how to condense your long work history? Connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube to share your thoughts and questions. We’d love to hear from you!

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