Dear Sam! Do you have any suggestions for an experienced professional – I’m in my sixties – finding work? I imagine most hiring managers looking at my resume will be half my age, and I may look intimidating to some managers given the depth of my experience. Should I do what they call “dumbing down” my experience to appear less qualified and perhaps less threatening? With over 20 years of sales experience, I’m afraid I’m intimidating to some young sales managers. Do you have any thoughts on this? – Daisy

Dear Daisy: I think it’s not about looking potentially intimidating, it’s about drawing a competitive picture of your candidacy regardless of the age or experience of the hiring manager. Rarely – if ever – does a job posting require more than 20 years of experience, so you should take content and keyword cues from the job postings you’re applying for. If most of the positions you’re looking for require 8-10 years of experience, list the “expected” 10 or so years of professional experience on your resume.

Long gone are the days when a resume served as a narrative of everything you’ve done in your career; now is the time to make your resume a more strategic representation of what you’ve done to qualify you for what you want to do now. Hiring managers expect you to have about 8-10 or 10-15 years of experience – the school of thought varies from person to person – but there’s no need to go back to the 90s if certain elements of that early experience don’t add value to your candidacy. I would suggest that you consider presenting your experience to the competition rather than thinking that you need to potentially “dumb down” your resume. I don’t believe that downplaying the value of your experience will ever land you the right job; it might get you an interview, but it rarely results in a solid “fit” between employer and employee. Good luck to you.

Samantha Nolan is an advanced personal branding strategist and career expert, founder and CEO of Nolan Branding. Do you have a resume, career or job search question for Dear Sam? Contact Samantha at dearsam@nolanbranding.com. For information on Nolan Branding services visit www.nolanbranding.com or call 888-9-MY-BRAND or 614-570-3442.

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