Dear Sam: I am 43 years old and have 20 years of work experience in sales, management, customer service and business ownership. I recently returned to school and graduated with a degree in finance last year.
I am beginning my job search in the finance sector. Should I list my entire job history on my résumé, as I have done in the past? My résumé is in chronological form. What would be your suggestion? — Tracey
Dear Tracey: First of all, congratulations on your recent graduation.
To answer your question: No, you probably should not list your entire 20-year career on your résumé.
I imagine you will need to position your candidacy at a more “junior level” since as you don’t have finance experience in your background, so presenting 20 years of work experience would only make you seem overqualified and too expensive.
Instead, present your most recent experience, maybe seven to 10 years, and utilize your course work and any class projects to infuse your résumé with finance key words.
Depending on the abundance — or lack thereof — of relevant projects you have to present, you could even consider adding a section to your résumé that highlights your academic experiences.
Doing this would allow you to fully explore your newly gained knowledge of the finance industry. You can also add those ever-so-important key words to your résumé, and push less-related experience to the bottom of Page 1.
When presenting earlier, non-finance-related work experience, be sure to market the transferability of those positions so the experience qualifies — rather than disqualifies — you for your current career objective. Best of luck in your job search, and in your new career.
— Samantha Nolan is a certified professional resume writer and the owner of Ladybug Design, a full-service resume-writing firm. Email resume or job-search questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Nolan, visit www.ladybug-design.com.