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Summarizing Years of Experience in Your Resume

By Kathleen Daub, Intern


Regardless if you’re new to the workforce or have years of experience within your industry, it is essential your resume reflects your experience and the skills you have gained within. Some may believe the more years of experience you have the easier it is to write your resume while others think the opposite. Unfortunately, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ method to writing a resume and highlighting the right skills.


Hiring managers or recruiters will not spend time trying to read between the lines of your resume. They will skim over your resume to see if you have the basic qualifications for the position, looking specifically for key words that were in the job posting.


Below you will find how to effectively summarize what you did in your previous role and how you succeeded, showcasing your skills depending on your years of experience.


2 Years and Under


You are considered a junior, just starting your career, you have likely only ever had 1-2 jobs. Therefore, you should be putting any school awards, volunteer work, certificate training and clubs you were or are a part of to demonstrate you have skills gained through other activities. Be sure to focus on your achievements relating back to the job posting. 


5 Years


5 years is generally the amount of time it takes to master your skills, whether you have stayed in the same position for those 5 years or developed transferable skills through switching jobs you have still mastered skills. To help bulk up your resume, just like ‘2 Years and Under’ you should be adding volunteer experience. This will help establish your experience gained through work demonstrating you have developed the desired skills for this new job.


10-15 Years


If you are in the 10-15 range, you have a lot to show for within your industry experience. You will be summarizing multiple roles, companies, and responsibilities, it can be challenging to determine what you should be highlighting. Try to keep your resume within 2 pages. Leave out any jobs you had years ago that have no relevance to the job you are applying to now. You may only need to include your last 3 roles if they give you enough to summarize your skills, key achievements, and knowledge.


20-30 Years and Plus


As American professionals who have 30 years or more of experience are encouraged to condense their resume to 2-pages maximum, in Australia you can get away with having a 4-page resume, giving you the space to communicate your wealth of knowledge by only highlighting your key roles and achievements within each position. This will not only make it easier for hiring managers and recruiters to read, but will also give you the opportunity to highlight boards, programs, and groups you were involved in. You should be including anything like mentoring colleagues, being a part of a charity board or community involvement.


It is important through all stages of your career to highlight your skills that are related to this job you are applying for. It does not matter how short or long you have been in the workforce, skills are gained through other aspects of your life. To have a better chance of getting this new role, include the keywords that are in the job description