Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Danger (and Value) of Showing 10+ Years of Experience on Your Resume

I was speaking with someone today with more than 30 years of experience in their industry. They resisted the fact that I wanted them to put 10+ years of experience. As we discussed the positive and negative of putting the true number of years (32!), I thought this might make an interesting topic for today.

The Dangers

  • The biggest danger with listing more than 10 years of experience is the fear of age discrimination. Age discrimination is based in fear. A few of these concerns are that you lack energy, fear that you are not open to changing technology or ideas, and fear that you may have health concerns. These are all tough to overcome on a piece of paper.
  • The more experience you have, the more salary you can demand. Employers are looking for the most cost-effective employee. Therefore, showing your entire 25 years of experience may give them second thoughts about whether or not they can afford you.
  • Keep in mind, if you have 32 years of experience and you are being interviewed by your potential boss that isn't even 32 years old, they may be intimidated by you to the point that they will not even call you for an interview. Fear that you may take their job from them could be a stopping point for some less secure bosses.
  • Most employers truly want to know your latest and greatest accomplishments. They view older accomplishments as outdated and irrelevant. Employers do not want to wade through irrelevant information to get to what they deem "the good stuff."

The Value

  • Showing a depth and breadth of experience demonstrates you can hit the ground running and make an immediate impact on the organization. Be sure to show that you possess current knowledge of new technology or methods if you go back more than 10 years.
  • In more than 10 years of industry experience, chances are you have seen changes in industry standards and expectations and changes in technology. Demonstrating your consistent performance, no matter the changes surrounding you, can be valuable to your sales pitch.

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