With a professionally-crafted resume, you could get the job you want within three months after submitting your application.
As a senior-level job seeker, you should understand that the experience section is the most vital area of your resume; it should be clear, well defined, and structured.
With decades of experience, there are various ways to demonstrate your work proficiency.
In this article, we explain why work experience on your resume is important, what to include in the experience section, how to showcase your experience of 20+ years in a resume and give tips to get you started.
Why Is Work Experience on Your Resume Important?
While every part of your resume is essential, the experience section tells the potential employer more about your career path, achievements, previous employers, contributions in your previous posts, skill-set, and that you have the qualifications to be an asset to their organization.
In most cases, potential employers turn to the experience section first to gauge whether you’re the perfect fit for the job.
Clearly outlining your work experience on your resume is vital as it gives you a competitive edge over the other candidates. Furthermore, you can provide significant information in a limited space.
What To Include in a Resume Experience Section?
Before writing your resume, gather all your work histories and list your acquired experiences over the years. For every job position, ensure you include all these elements:
- Job title
- Company or employer name
- Location; state, city, or remote
- Dates of your employment, from your start to end date
- Details of your contributions and accomplishments
How to Showcase Your Experience of 20+ Years in a Resume
When writing a resume, you might be tempted to include every detail about your past roles, achievements, and expertise. However, the University of Michigan (UMICH) concurs that less is always more in such cases.
Here are some steps you can take to effectively showcase your 20+ years of experience in the work history area:
Include Detailed Relevant Info
Write specific information about your previous posts in detail. For instance, write the complete and official names of the companies you worked for, the location of the companies, employment dates, and job titles. You should also ensure that this information is relevant to the job you’re applying for.
Format the Work Experience Section Properly
Write a brief introduction for every position or a bullet-point list outlining your responsibilities.
Ensure that every position you list prioritizes your contributions and achievements to the role. Detail your work history in reverse chronological order, meaning the most recent post you’ve held should come first.
Keep the professional experience area relevant to the specific role and include statements targeting those potential jobs. Limit yourself to only five bullet points per job for the work history. Explain this section with action verbs, such as saved, spearheaded, and implemented, to be more concise and increase the hiring manager’s curiosity.
Show Don’t Tell
Whenever you write about your accomplishments, always show how you achieved your goals with measurable results.
For instance, writing “I helped my previous organization make more sales” sounds shallow. Instead, quantify your results like this, “I helped my team members achieve 4.5% productivity which led to an increase of sales by 14%.”
Customize Your Work Experience to the Specific Job
According to a recent report, more than 63% of recruiters prefer candidates who’ve customized their applications to the specific job description.
Even when you’ve done exemplary work over the years, don’t include them in your work history if they’re irrelevant to the position you seek. Writing irrelevant information only distracts the hiring manager from the more important information.
Ensure you create a new resume for each application you send to showcase your skills and why you’re the best candidate.
Keep It Brief
A thumb rule is only to include work experience spanning 15 years when writing a resume.
When you include excessive information, the section will become overwhelming for the recruiter to read and distract them from relevant, recent information. Ensure you make your bullet lists easy to read and concise.
Brief information tells a lot about you while still showing your relevant skills and expertise, as many recruiters don’t have the time to go through jam-packed resumes with many details when they have hundreds of applications to sort through.
Tips for Writing Your Previous Work Experience
Writing the perfect work history demands time, efficiency, and creativity. Here are some tips to get you started on your work history section and help you proceed to the interview phase:
- Use present tense when writing about your current positions and past tense for your previous roles
- Use different resume versions for different career paths by customizing your job entries for each position and mentioning the most appropriate relevant experience
- Mention voluntary work whenever possible, including part-time positions, internships, or voluntary work, especially if you’re switching careers
- Avoid grammatical errors because your resume is also a writing sample that tells potential employers more about you; grammatical mistakes give the impression that you’re inattentive to details or lazy, so always ensure that a professional proofreads your resume before submitting it
- Close and open the work history section with your most critical strengths because most hiring managers often skim the bulleted lists under each post, and they may miss details in the middle
- Mention the challenges you overcame, as most recruiters use this to determine how you’ll help them once they employ you; describe an occasion where you helped solve a crisis, problem, or challenge to demonstrate your capabilities and skills
Writing a resume of more than 20 years’ experience can be a daunting task, especially when you don’t know where to begin or the resources to use.
While no one template fits all needs of every job seeker, the above tips are vital to get you started.
Enlisting the services of an executive coach and a professional resume writer can prove invaluable.
At Ivy Exec, our all-inclusive membership helps you learn more about the latest executive job vacancies, interview advice, and career strategies.
Sign up today for our newsletter for more resume writing tips to ensure your work experience section is top-notch.