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How to Make a Long Work History Work for You

The more extensive your work history, the sharper the resume needs to be. Otherwise, you'll end up with a sprawling document that goes nowhere.

Let’s say you’ve been injured and are being wheeled into the operating room for surgery.

Standing in front of you are 2 doctors. One is an undisputed leader in the field who’s done the operation you need thousands of times successfully.

The other is fresh out of residency.

Who do you select to handle the operation?

Now let me ask you this: if someone tells you there’s no difference between these two doctors, would you believe them?

Of course not.

Yet why then do so many experienced job seekers feel the need to “prove” themselves against competitors with a fraction of their knowledge and expertise?

How can this type of absurd comparing even take place?

One major culprit is that you’re simply setting your sights too low.

The answer to this one is simple: go bigger with your aspirations! It’s not easier to land a lower-level role; in fact, in many cases, it’s much harder, especially once you’re saddled with the “overqualified” label.

The other is that your career platform, especially your Resume and LinkedIn Profile, is not effectively communicating your unique worth.

Here are 3 great ways to address a long work history

1. Focus on Pain Points

The more extensive your work history, the sharper the resume needs to be. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a sprawling document that goes nowhere.

The best way to accomplish this is to avoid listing responsibilities in favor of addressing pain points.

Start every major position with a scope statement that highlights the bottom-line way in which you moved the needle at this company “ex. Transformed XYZ Company valuation and growth prospects through developing a robust framework encompassing global finance, strategic planning, and corporate development.”

Everything after the scope statement should be bulleted accomplishments that demonstrate HOW you achieved it. Stress the bottom-line benefit first, then the actions taken. Here’s an example:

• Increased investor funding by 20% through targeted positioning and a significantly expanded presence within the EU investor community. Partnered with CEO and investors to develop a robust capital structure supporting continued growth.

Also read: Turn A Long Career Into a Short Resume

2. “Hold the Line” When it Comes to Seniority

The “marquee” positions on your resume and LinkedIn Profile, which are the ones which take up the bulk of the space, do an enormous amount to establish seniority. A big advantage to having a longer work history is that you can, in most cases, EXCLUSIVELY highlight positions that are at a proper level without having to “pad out” with low-level roles.

For example, if I’m a CFO and I’ve spent the past 8 years working in this capacity for organizations, then these positions should be the MAJOR focus of my resume’s professional experience section, and all of the other positions will play a supporting role. (Expert Tip: One way to consolidate older positions is by way of an “Additional Experience” section with 1-2 bullet points per role.)

Being able to “hold the line” this way can do wonders when it comes to being perceived in the right light by employers, and ensuring you have the most leverage moving through the hiring process.

Also read: Break Through Age Stereotypes and Land a Job

3. Highlight the Value Adds That Only Come from a Long and Successful Career

It depresses me when I see older executives strain to communicate things like, “energy” within their career platforms, because I know it comes from a place of insecurity. Trying to play the same game as someone who’s twenty years younger than you is a recipe for failure. Instead, play the game they can’t.

Ask yourself the following, “What have I accrued during the course of my career that few others can bring to the table?”

What about that deep “bench” of industry connections which can be leveraged towards a new position?

What about the insights that come from having grown both start-ups in need of structure, AS WELL as established operations in need of a steady hand?

Or successfully riding out all manner of crises over the years, and being the calm voice of reason when things inevitably go south in the future?

Think about specific stories that highlight your value adds, and be sure to highlight them within your Resume, LinkedIn Profile and during face-to-face interviews. They can make a huge difference!

About the Author

Anish Majumdar is a nationally recognized Career Coach, Personal Branding Expert, and a fierce advocate for transitioning leaders. His posts and videos on disrupting the "normal rules" of job searching and getting ahead reach a combined audience of 30M professionals every month. Go down the rabbit hole of Anish’s career videos at, and connect with him on LinkedIn to receive daily career tips and advice.