Expert Advice for Your Mid-Career Resume

As a job seeker, sometimes you need a hug, some TLC and the one-on-one attention of someone who can help you navigate today’s challenging job market. Other times? It’s a hearty dose of tough love that’ll most effectively shove you into a more productive, fulfilling direction.

Here are three tips for those crafting (or retooling) a mid-career resume:

What is the right length for my resume? How should it highlight my experience?

In general, one of the challenges people in career transitions face is that they have hodgepodged their resumes through the years, tacking experience and jobs on as they their careers progress. The result can be something like Frankenstein. Your resume is a marketing document, not an autobiography or a list of everything you have ever done.

Mid-career job seekers need to treat their resumes as a marketing document. It should highlight skills, and accomplishments and experiences that will most interest those within your target market and industry. The best resumes are those that consider, what the target reviewer cares about, and speaks to these core deliverables. And even if you did something really cool in 1983, only include your earliest career experience if it is relevant to the roles you are pursuing.

There is no problem with a two- or three-page resume, as long as there are no redundancies or fluff included. Erring on the side of brevity at this career stage can serve as a disadvantage, as the reviewer won’t be able to make a quick connection between what the employer needs, and what you can deliver.

Should I apply to job postings with a standard resume?

As a mid-career professional you will have cultivated a network.  Leveraging these relationships to identify opportunities is, far and away, the best way to go about a mid-career job search.  While most people WILL apply for jobs online, at least occasionally, it’s a mistake to use job boards and on-line applications exclusively. Mid-career job seekers get a lot farther and faster by finding and leveraging direct connections within the organizations at which they want to work. Keep your network fresh and top of mind throughout your career.

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Everyone says this is a terrible job market for older workers. Would I be smart to look outside of this region for work?

This is a very personal decision. In general in any market, there’s opportunity. Some sectors are stronger than others, of course, but the media does an incredibly good job of convincing job seekers that Portland is a soft market with limited growth potential. I’d say that it’s important, in any market, to realize that there’s always opportunity to find or make a job for yourself. Certainly, it may require creativity, strategy and chutzpah, but for those who love this town like I do – the job market is by no means hopeless. A sound strategy and a great resume can get you everywhere.