Resumes: How Do I Fit A 20+ Year Career On One Page – You Don’t

Frustrated writing resume

That is one question or concern I hear a lot, how am I supposed to fit 20 or more years of my career on one page when I am ready to start transitioning into my next new adventure.  To be honest, most people do not say adventure, that was me, but the concern is still the same.

You don’t.

This is not about one page or two – that debate is ongoing with each side having valid arguments. Here are a couple of articles I have written on the whole one page or two debate: Resumes: One Page or Two – and Why They Fail Based on Length Alone and One or Two Page Resume – Why It is a Shot in the Dark and Doesn’t Matter.

The bottom line is if you have the goods, the reader will read your resume whether it is one page or two.  That also leads to the answer about not fitting a lifetime of a career on one page (or two): it is not about the career so much as it is about the value.

The point is not to put your entire career in there; it is to speak to the value that you bring to an organization to be the solution or solution driver to their challenges.

To be blunt, and that is my style, no one cares about every single thing you have done over a decade or multiple decades. They only care about what is important to them.

They have an idea of what they are going to get – resumes from people who think they are qualified. What they want is someone who understands their industry, the position, the challenges and who can speak to how they successfully overcame these things in the past.  Past performance is an indicator of future success.

For the next adventure –what are the tools necessary to not only survive but thrive? Leadership, operations, finance, logistics, information technology – what are the core skills they want? Now, how can you prove your proficiency with these tools to demonstrate success in your past adventures?

If you spent 10 years in the Arctic, that is a whole different adventure than your time in the Amazon.  If you are going to a jungle location, speak of your time in the Arctic only in what applies in the jungle.  They are not going to care about dog sledding or making igloos. Those may be great stories and skills, but unless they mean anything to your jungle audience, they will not care, which translates to an unread resume.

Your value is not only where you have been and what you know. Your true value to the reader is what you know and how you have done what you have done in a way that translates to a positive return on their investment in hiring you.

So how you do translate a 20+ career on one page – you don’t – you translate relevant value to the reader from your experience in the length that works for you.



A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

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