/ Asked by Erica
Hello, I went to university later in life, at age 26, and graduated in three years. I had some good work experience before university, but not in the role I am looking for now. I was a sales coordinator and I am looking to move into a full sales role. A recruiter recommended that I differentiate my work pre-university experience from my post-university experience. Can you suggest how to do this?
Answered by Phil, Hiring Expert at Merck & Co., Inc., on Thursday, September 20, 2018
Hi there! One way that I've found helpful for myself has been using the header "Relevant Work Experience" for roles that tie in directly to careers and jobs that I am applying for. Then I use the header "Other Work Experience" for other roles that might be similar or have provided me with useful experiences but may not be directly related to roles that I am seeking. As a recruiter, I've found that way of differentiating helpful as I'm screening resumes, so I'd suggest trying that out (or something similar) and see how it works for you. Best of luck! Phil
Answered by Mike, Hiring Expert at Avery Dennison Corporation, on Friday, September 28, 2018
Thanks for your question.  I'm actually going to differ a bit from the advice you received previously.  I don't think you should highlight your experience pre-university any different than you should post-university.  I think what is important to show is that you have the relevant skills necessary to do the job, regardless of when it occurred.  

My biggest question, though, is what types of jobs are you looking for?  As an example, at Avery Dennison, it is very difficult to be successful in a sales role without prior experience in our industry.  Our sales process is a very technical process, that requires a substantial amount of knowledge of our customers processes, applications, and the capabilities of our products.  As such, we either need to develop folks internally, or find people that have past experience with our competitors or customers (with some limitations).   Someone applying to our field sales roles from the outside without this experience have a pretty slim chance of moving ahead in the process.  My recommendation is for someone to target another role within our company that offers more hands-on training or development to get someone to that level (such as inside sales or customer service).  If someone is a hard worker and a strong performer, in due time they will make their way to field sales.  

You very well could be targeting a different company or industry, though, that offers a longer learning curve.  At that point, I think it may be a factor of showing a bit more about how your past experience has allowed you to do some of the things that will help you be successful in a new role.  

I hope this helps.  Best of luck in your search!
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