Writing A Resume After 20 Years: Tips And Tricks

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Are you feeling overwhelmed at the thought of updating your resume after 20 years? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Writing a resume can be daunting, especially when you have years of experience to condense into one page.

However, with the right tips and tricks, you can create a professional resume that showcases your skills and experience in the best possible light.

In this article, we’ll provide you with practical advice on how to update your resume after 20 years. From assessing your skills and experience to customizing your resume for each job, we’ll guide you through the entire process.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a polished resume that highlights your strengths and sets you apart from other candidates. So, let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  • Assess past work experience to identify skills and accomplishments, and align them with career goals.
  • Consider different resume formats, including chronological, functional, and combination, to highlight relevant skills and experience.
  • Customize each resume for the job by emphasizing skills and experiences from the job description, and incorporating keywords and phrases.
  • Use action verbs, quantify achievements, and focus on accomplishments rather than job duties to make the resume stand out.

Assess Your Skills and Experience

Before you start crafting your resume, take a moment to assess your skills and experience – it’s gonna be a game changer!

Skills evaluation is an important step in crafting a resume that showcases your strengths and aligns with your career goals. Start by looking at your past work experience and identifying the skills you’ve developed over the years. Take note of any accomplishments or achievements that highlight your abilities in a particular area.

Once you’ve evaluated your skills, think about your career goals and how they fit into your resume. What type of job are you looking for? What skills do you need to highlight to make yourself a strong candidate?

Keep these questions in mind as you craft your resume, and make sure that your skills and experience align with your career goals. By taking the time to assess your skills and experience before crafting your resume, you’ll be able to create a document that highlights your strengths and sets you up for success in your job search.

a woman writing a resume after 20 years
A woman writing a resume after 20 years

Choose a Resume Format

When it comes to choosing a resume format, you have several options to consider. The two most common formats are chronological and functional resumes. A chronological resume highlights your work history in reverse chronological order, while a functional resume emphasizes your skills and accomplishments.

Another option to consider is a combination resume, which incorporates elements of both formats. Additionally, using a modern and visually appealing design can help your resume stand out to potential employers.

Chronological vs. Functional Resumes

Opt for a chronological resume if you want to emphasize your work history. This format lists your work experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent job. This is the traditional resume format and is often preferred by employers. It allows them to see your career progression and how you’ve grown in your field over time.

On the other hand, go with a functional resume if you want to highlight your skills and achievements. This format focuses on your skills and experiences, rather than your work history. You can organize your resume by skill categories and list accomplishments under each category. This is a great option if you are changing careers, have employment gaps, or if your work history is not as relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Whatever format you choose, make sure to address any employment gaps in your resume and highlight your strengths and accomplishments.

Consider a Combination Resume

Consider using a combination resume, which blends elements of both chronological and functional formats, to showcase your work history and skills in a balanced way. This format is particularly helpful if you have a strong work history, but also possess skills that aren’t reflected in your work experience. Here are four reasons why a combination resume may work well for you:

  1. It allows you to highlight both your work experience and skills in one document.
  2. You can place more emphasis on your skills, which is particularly helpful if you’re changing careers or industries.
  3. You can showcase your most relevant skills and achievements at the top of the resume, instead of having them buried in a chronological list of jobs.
  4. It gives you the flexibility to tailor your resume to specific job postings by highlighting the skills and experience that are most relevant to the position.

Before creating a combination resume, it may be helpful to do a skills assessment to identify your key strengths and areas of expertise. This will allow you to focus on the most relevant skills and craft a resume that showcases your strengths in a compelling way.

With a hybrid resume, you can effectively communicate the breadth and depth of your experience, while also highlighting your skills and achievements in a way that’s tailored to the specific job you’re applying for.

Use a Modern Design

Using a modern design for your resume can increase your chances of getting hired, as 70% of employers prefer visually appealing resumes over plain ones. Incorporating color and using infographics can help you stand out from the crowd and catch the attention of hiring managers. A well-designed resume not only showcases your skills and experience but also demonstrates your creativity and attention to detail.

a woman using a modern design for her resume
A woman using a modern design for her resume

When choosing a modern design for your resume, it’s important to keep it professional and easy to read. Avoid using too many colors or fonts that are difficult to read. Instead, choose a simple color scheme with a clear hierarchy of information.

Consider using infographics to showcase your achievements and skills in a visually interesting way. This can help your resume stand out and make a lasting impression on hiring managers. By using a modern design, you can show that you’re innovative and up-to-date with the latest trends in the industry, making you a more attractive candidate to potential employers.

Customize Your Resume for Each Job

To tailor your resume for each job, emphasize the skills and experiences that align with the specific job description and use keywords from the job posting to catch the employer’s attention. This may require customizing your resume for each application, but it’ll increase your chances of getting noticed and ultimately landing the job.

Here are some tips to help you customize your resume effectively:

  1. Start by thoroughly reading the job posting and identifying the key skills and experiences required for the position.
  2. Highlight those skills and experiences in your resume, making sure they’re easy to find and understand.
  3. Use action verbs to describe your achievements and experiences, and include specific numbers and results to show the impact of your work.

By tailoring your resume for each job, you show the employer that you’ve taken the time to understand their needs and are a good fit for the position. This’ll make you stand out from other applicants and increase your chances of getting the job.

Write Strong Bullet Points

Now that you’ve learned about the importance of customizing your resume for each job, it’s time to focus on crafting impactful statements that highlight your achievements. This is where strong bullet points come into play.

When writing your bullet points, it’s important to focus on your accomplishments rather than just listing your job duties. Start each bullet point with a strong action verb and quantify your achievements whenever possible. For example:

  • Instead of saying “Managed a team of employees, “say “Led a team of 10 employees to exceed sales goals by 20%.”This not only shows your skills and accomplishments but also makes your resume stand out from others.

Additionally, make sure to tailor your bullet points to the job description. Look for keywords and phrases in the job posting and incorporate them into your bullet points. This shows the employer that you have taken the time to understand the job requirements and have the skills and experience they are looking for.

By following these tips, you can write strong bullet points that will catch the employer’s attention and help you stand out in a competitive job market.

Proofread and Edit Your Resume

Before submitting your job application, it’s crucial to proofread and edit your resume to ensure that there are no errors or inconsistencies that could turn off potential employers.

It’s common for job applicants to make mistakes on their resumes, whether it’s a typo, incorrect grammar, or formatting issues. These mistakes may seem minor, but they can leave a negative impression on hiring managers and cause them to move on to the next applicant.

a guy proofreading and editing his resume
A guy proofreading and editing his resume

Therefore, it’s important to carefully review your resume and make any necessary changes before sending it out. In addition to avoiding common mistakes, it’s also important to stay up-to-date with current hiring trends.

The job market is constantly changing, and employers are looking for candidates who can adapt to new technologies and industry developments. When proofreading your resume, consider how it reflects your ability to stay current and innovative in your field.

Make sure to highlight any relevant skills or experiences that demonstrate your flexibility and willingness to learn. By taking the time to proofread and edit your resume, you can increase your chances of landing your dream job and impress potential employers with your attention to detail and adaptability.


By now, you’ve successfully crafted a resume after 20 years of professional experience. However, before you submit it, there’s one final step you must take.

Investigate the truth of a theory to convey a deeper meaning to your audience. What does this mean? It means that you must ensure that your resume accurately reflects your skills and experience and that it effectively communicates your value to potential employers.

Take a critical look at your resume and ask yourself, “Does this represent me in the best possible light? Is this the most compelling version of my professional story?”

If the answer is no, then it’s time to revise.

Remember, your resume is your personal marketing tool. It needs to be polished, professional, and persuasive.

By following the tips and tricks outlined in this article, you can create a resume that will help you stand out from the competition and land the job of your dreams.

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Jessica started off as an avid book reader. After reading one too many romance novels (really... is it ever really enough?), she decided to jump to the other side and started writing her own stories. She now shares what she has learned (the good and the not so good) here at When You Write, hoping she can inspire more up and coming wordsmiths to take the leap and share their own stories with the world.