Has experience become a liability?
“Work on your resumé” – “Gain more experience” – “Get some real-world on-the-job training” – many people were told this upon school graduation.
Times have changed. As of this writing, Mann Consulting is about to hit a milestone, but we’re likely NOT going to order the “celebrating our 25th anniversary” seals. While the tech industry expands faster than it can keep up, “we’re established” sends the wrong message. We never thought we’d back away from a bragging opportunity like that. But in certain sectors, “in business for ____ years” is now something to downplay.
Observe a middle manager dust off their CV after a corporate downsizing. You’ll see them REMOVING sections and previous jobs from the page. This is quite a reversal, indicating that experience is not as valuable as in years past.
The person who has 15 years of experience in project management? Seems out of touch, not open to new thinking. Set in their ways. Unable to work with a younger, more agile group.
Technology has been changing at an increasing speed. So there is a growing sentiment that “if you’ve been doing something a long time, you’re less inclined to change your approach, and such hesitance could be perilous in a fast-moving industry.”
The problem: A resume is your description of your experience and ability. That’s the problem. It’s your description. And the employer doesn’t know you.
The solution: The professional reference. This is the absolutely critical ingredient which will resolve concerns or apprehensions because someone might be “too” seasoned or experienced.
Go ahead, shorten your resume. But find some references that are hopefully within one or two LinkedIn connections to the company you’re courting. There are amazing hires and nightmare ones with all varieties of experience. Ageism is real and not easy to overcome. But word of mouth is hard to fabricate, and is ultimately the best indicator of performance.
Most people don’t pick a restaurant based on what the restaurant says, they look to Yelp or other reviews. Your own brand shouldn’t be any different.