One of the only things that has never gone out of style when it comes to applying for a job is the resume. It’s a one- or two-page summary of just why you’re qualified for what you’re looking at, and gives prospective employers an easy and quick way of putting you ahead of the competition. But before you sit down in front of your computer and start typing away, remember that not all resumes are created equally. And by this, we don’t mean that you should craft a different resume based on if you’re aiming to get an arts or sciences job, but rather what kind of resume you should be looking at when you’re halfway through your career, life-wise. It’s a topic that doesn’t get addressed very often, of how to build a winning resume for this stage of job hunting, but it’s an important one and we’ve compiled a list of tips that’ll make yours stand out.
Tighten Up and Streamline
At this point in your career life, you’ve got 10 to 20 years of work experience under your belt. You know you’ve got what it takes to get to the next level, and you definitely know your background puts you head and shoulders above the competition. However, just because that’s the case doesn’t necessarily mean you should broadcast every single detail of that because, to show tough love, nobody cares.
We shouldn’t say that nobody ever cares, but rather that nobody is as interested in every year of your job history the way you’ll be. You lived those years and they matter a great deal to you — as they should &mdsh; but what employers are looking at is an abbreviated summary. The key is to strike a good balance between relevant experience and depth of experience. You don’t have to list every single job you had in the last 15 years, as employers will not bother to read after the second page.
Use the Right Language
When you made your first resume, you likely started it off with “Objective” at the top, and then put something like “to be gainfully employed in a position that best utilizes the skills and experience I’ve acquired.
If you add this to your mid-career resume, all you’ll be doing is marking yourself as hopelessly out-of-date, as well as not being savvy enough to learn how resumes are now crafted. Even more than that, you’re telling prospective managers that teaching you new skills in the office will take a long time, as you’ll be slow to adapt to new ideas and concepts.
Instead, and remembering that you’ve got less than 30 seconds for someone to read your resume start off punchy by creating a “profile” or “summary” section at the top, right underneath your name and contact information. How it’s different from an “objective” section is that instead of listing your goal and requesting what the company can do for you (give you gainful employment, and it goes without saying that everyone who hands in a resume has the same goal), show the company what you can do for them. Spend a few lines describing your skills and experience, not going more than four sentences.
Additionally, what we’re also seeing is job applicants simply put their job title in caps at the top, under their name and contact information, as a way of introducing themselves and their experience.
Adopt Bullet Points Instead of Paragraphs
Because you have so much work experience under your belt, the key is to grab readers in and make it easy for them to learn about you. One of the quickest ways you can turn off any reader is to swarm them with paragraphs of densely written material, as just about anyone will give up after the first line.
It’s tempting to explain all the details about your past work history and why you were such an all-star, but a resume is not the place to do it. Instead, remember that your resume is the tool you’ll be using to land an interview, and an interview is where you’ll have the chance to expound on your skills and experience.
Put Your Education at the Bottom
By applying for the job you are, it’s understood that you already have baseline education and technical proficiencies, and you don’t have to list it at the front of your resume anymore. If you’re applying as an engineer or lawyer, then your previous work history will show that, with the tacit understanding that you already proved your educational and technical worth there.
However, that doesn’t mean you can entirely get away without listing it. The back of your resume, right at the very end, is where you should talk about it. It’s still important to show that you do have that college degree because some employers perform background checks on you. As for technical skills, just list all that you’re good at, such as Photoshop, Excel, HTML, etc.