Your Career Q&A: How Much Experience Is Too Much?

By Martin Yate May 17, 2016
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When writing your HR resume, focus on relevant experience and not just quantity of experience. Best-selling author Martin Yate, a career coach and former HR professional, takes your questions each week about how to further your career in HR. Contact him at the e-mail address at the end of this column.

I have been working at my present place of employment since 2000. During this same time period, I also received four college degrees: associate degree in business administration; bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in human resource management; and two master’s degrees. Additionally, from 2008–10, I worked part time as an adjunct faculty member for Potomac College, where I facilitated HR courses online for associate and bachelor degree programs.

While I feel that my employment history for the past 16 years is impressive, I also have prior work experience dating back as far as the 1980s. Is it necessary to include that job history on my resume? Perhaps as a separate addendum page?  

Anonymous

Nothing happens in a job search without communication between candidate and hiring manager. So the mantra of every job search, every day, is to “get into conversation with the people who can hire me as fast and as often as I can.” Because age discrimination is alive and well, showing too much work history can lead hiring managers to reject you before that conversation even starts.

Additionally, technology has so changed the way that every job is executed that most of what we did further back than 20 years ago is irrelevant anyway; this has become an accepted norm. Given your work and education in the 16-year time frame mentioned, I’d go with a resume work history that reflects that.

Have a question for Martin about advancing or managing your career? From big issues to small, please feel free to e-mail your queries to YourCareerQA@shrm.org. We’ll only publish your first name and city, unless you prefer to remain anonymous—just let us know. 

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