Saturday, June 11, 2011

How to mention unrelated work experience on your resume
How do you deal with work experience in a resume that is unrelated to the job you are keen to apply for? Should you omit it or include it in the resume, and if the latter, then how can you phrase it right? Read on to find out.

Many candidates who come to us for resume help have the same question. They have years of professional work experience, but a lot of it isn’t relevant to the position they’re currently seeking. On the one hand, they don’t want to waste resume space detailing work that doesn’t relate to their application. On the other hand, they don’t want to omit years of work that developed them as a professional.

The right phrase
I use a magic phrase to address this issue: “additional experience includes.” It’s perfectly all right to sum up large portions of your career in one sentence that lists previous employers or positions. If you spent the first 10 years of your marketing career performing lower-level tasks, you could say: “Additional experience includes marketing positions with ABC, DEF, and XYZ (1990-2000).” If your previous work was in an unrelated field, you can simply list the companies: “Additional experience includes positions with ABC, DEF, and XYZ.”

The age game 
This technique can also be very helpful to those who are concerned about age discrimination. I summarized the first 15 years of one candidate’s career into one sentence to downplay the fact that she was 55. Because her experience was relevant to her field, removing it from her resume entirely would have been a disservice, but we did not include the years that experience encompassed.

The experience issue
I recently worked with another candidate who used this technique to show she was a more experienced professional than her education suggested. This woman had worked for 10 years before going back to complete her bachelor’s degree. From looking at her graduation dates, you would assume she was in her 20s. In fact, she was an experienced manager in her 30s—a fact that was important to show for the level of job she was seeking.

Many of us have work experience that doesn’t fit neatly with our current goals and objectives. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving it off your resume altogether, using the phrase “additional experience includes” can help you mention the experience quickly without wasting precious resume space.

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