Do you want to know how to turn off a recruiter or hiring manager just as they start to read your resume? Good. I can help. Here’s one of my favorites:
Lead by telling them how many years of experience you have.
Years of Experience
- Over 20 years of experience in…
- 22 years of experience in…
- More than 17 years of experience in…
Why is This a Fail?
1. If the most compelling thing you can say about your work is how long you have done it, there’s a problem, a scary potential mediocrity problem.
2. Your readers might ask, “Hmm, I wonder if that is 17 years of progressively responsible experience or if it’s one year of experience 17 times?”
3. If your reader is more than 10 years younger than you, they’ll de facto think you are old. As in, “25 years of experience? Wow, he’s as old as my dad. That’s really old.”
What if the Posting Specified Years of Experience?
Format your employment dates well enough that your readers can easily do the math. You can see a helpful formatting template here.
Show Your Progressively Responsible Experience
Also, make it easy for recruiters to see you have had progressively responsible experience. You’ll find a helpful sample resume here.
What is Progressive Experience?
If you wonder what I mean by “progressive experience,” note how each job in the sample entailed more responsibility than the previous job.
Todd started as a usability architect, then he was promoted to a vice president role, and finally, he built and ran a large UX consulting practice as a managing director.
Describing that type of growth in responsibility is a great way to show progressive experience on your resume.
In the end, recruiters and hiring managers read your resume looking for answers to 2 basic questions:
- Can this person do the job?
- Will this person do the job?
Put it that way, and you can see their needs are pretty simple.
Differentiate yourself. Show them you did the job and the impact you created.
When you do, your resume will go from thumbs-down to 2-thumbs-up!
Updated February 2021
© 2010 – 2021, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, authors all of AvidCareerist’s posts. She has written for and been quoted by 100+ business and general media outlets, including Forbes, Mashable, Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur, the New York Times, USA Today, Time, CBS, the BBC, Lifehacker, Social Media Today, IT World, SmartBrief, and Business News Daily.
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