How Do I Fit All My Experience Onto My Resume?

by | Sep 19, 2023

“I don’t know what experience to include on a resume,” my client told me. “I’ve been working for years and my resume is so long. How do I write a resume that captures all my experience without being so wordy?” 

That got me thinking about yet another difference between corporate and education resumes. (What are the others? Check out last week’s post on data to include for one example.)

When I was a teacher applying to a new school district for another teaching job – or within the same school district for an instructional coaching role a few years later – my resume needed to show all my teaching experience. I filled my resume with my professional experience. I mentioned my class sizes, the diversity of demographics within my classroom, and the subjects and/or grade levels I taught. I wrote about RTI and MTSS, ELL and SPED, PBIS and Kagan, Bloom’s Taxonomy, Vygotsky’s zones, and Marzano’s elements. I included all the professional development courses I had attended and certificates I had acquired. I filled my resume with every educational buzzword that was the hot button at the moment, displaying my educational knowledge and background for all to see.

What do you do with all the accumulated wisdom when you are looking to transfer to a new role? How do you show everything that you can do?

The simple, and difficult, answer is – you can’t.

Over years or decades of work, we – all of us – have gained too many skills to summarize succinctly on a 1-2-page resume. This is true both in and outside of education. We all have more life experiences and skills than fit on a piece of paper or two.

So what should you include on a resume?


Include the most important titles and skills

When applying for a role outside of education, the trick is to think about what you have done that matters most to the role you are applying for. According to the 2018 Ladders Eye-Tracking Study, recruiters spend about 6-8 seconds scanning your resume at first to see if you might be a good fit. You want your titles and subtitles to stand out. You want the reader to see that you have the skills needed to do this role. Of course, you have other skills too, and they will be delighted to discover these later. But right now, all they need to know is what pertains to this specific role you are applying for. You just want your resume to land in the pile of “Look into this person more” resumes.

Leave things out

That means cutting. A lot. Unless it pertains to the work you want to do, cut out all the professional learning sessions you attended. Cut out your background in areas that have nothing to do with this role. Avoid mentioning educational terms (and especially educational acronyms) at all if they don’t directly apply to this role.

Speak only to the role you are applying for.

Prepare different resumes

This usually means that you will have more than one resume ready to go. For example, if you are considering applying for instructional design and corporate trainer roles, you will want two different resumes – one highlighting your skills writing engaging learning sessions and the other focusing on your facilitation of learning sessions.

Within these role-specific resumes, include any data and metrics, learning certifications, and awards you have received that are relevant for these specific roles. Be sure to include any relevant technological skills as well. For example, if an instructional design job posting states that one preferred skills is experience with a learning management system and you are a certified Google Classroom teacher or are proficient in Articulate 360, be sure to mention that. But, if you are applying for a customer success manager position, these do not need to be included on your resume.

Less is more

Understanding what recruiters look for using the Ladders study cited above, and realizing that recruiters receive hundreds of resumes for each role, make your resume easy to read. Use short sentences and phrases rather than paragraphs. Don’t make it too cluttered. Use keywords, but use them in context. And stick to a simple layout. (Skip columns entirely!)


Think of a resume like speed dating. You have a very limited amount of time to present the most important information about yourself and get the person interested in learning more. You wouldn’t try to cram your whole life story into a 5-minute speed date. Don’t try to cram your work life into 1-2 pages. Present what is important. The goal is to get noticed and get them interested in learning more.





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