Does my age intimidate you? Or is it just irrelevant?
June 6, 2011 4:10 PM   Subscribe

Unorthodox Resume Filter: I'm applying for a project management job. I'm creating a new resume. I have all the right experience, but my professional history is project-based and episodic. To balance out my skill set I have to go back in time. How far back should I go?

Now, if I had worked at the Smith & Smith Company for 3 years, then received a promotion, worked another 3 years, got a new title, stayed in that position for 5 years and then hopped companies, doing a still more responsible 5-year stint somewhere else, it would all be very easy.

That was not my experience at all.

Instead I did:

1990–1995: 5 years of teaching (college & lower, U.S. and abroad; at different institutions)
1997–2008: 11 years of editorial experience (freelance for myriad book publishers)
1995, 1996, 2000: 3 +/- years of management experience (freelance for myriad book publishers)
2008–2009: 1 year of government management experience

The publishing proves I can write, edit, and manage, but for the kinds of jobs I want (not editing, not teaching), it helps to round out that experience by proving that I can also teach. The teaching validates subject-area expertise, the ability to present information aloud, comfort with large groups and, in my case, experience with exceptionally diverse populations.

It's also historically been helpful for me to have on my resume as a transfer skill because editing (although often involving a lot of training and practice) is one of those low-barrier-to-entry fields, which people think anyone can do.

As a related bolster to my editing experience, I list several professional courses on my resume, related to all of my training in editing and various publishing specialties. I also have numerous courses and certificates relating to foreign language study. The dates on all these, including college graduation, run from 1989-2004—though some of the foreign language coursework precedes college: from the mid-1980s.

So, for the purposes of this resume, I'm dumping the foreign language stuff; it's irrelevant anyway.

  • My worry, however, is if I dump the teaching, I'll be losing some heft.

  • Likewise with all the professional coursework gone, my educational experience will diminish to what is now considered a fairly measly B.A.

    I'm in my early 40s.


    Just for kicks, I'll note that a lot of the publishers I worked for are now defunct, and that my entire government department was laid off, so although I do have references it's, well, it could be easier....
  • posted by Violet Blue to Work & Money (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
    I would include everything that's relevant to the job you're applying for. Just make sure it's a kick ass resume. Write it for the job you're applying to and make sure that you carefully think through each item you choose to include. For some jobs (particularly with online submission) a two page resume is now appropriate. But make sure it's justified, don't stretch it out just because you aren't sure what to include. Use the terms that the job posting uses and the jobs you need to prove you've got the chops.
    posted by stoneweaver at 4:48 PM on June 6, 2011

    Isn't the 'functional' resume format supposed to help with chronological time issues?

    Basically, you include the stuff that proves you'd be great for the job, starting with the most kick-butt evidence and working towards the less butt but still kick evidence. Include the standard "this job taught me this skill which is oh-so relevant to this new job!"

    Nthing tailoring the resume for the job. Include a great cover letter.

    You'll do great!
    posted by titanium_geek at 5:08 PM on June 6, 2011

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