How Far Back Should A Resume Go? Find Out Here

The adventure is original. After having to give the topic a thought, and deliberating on the completion moments, you now have begun a search for a new job.

However, right before starting this journey, you’ll have to confront the job seeker’s rite of passage by writing or updating your resume.

There are various career conundrums resumes cause—starting from what resume styles to make use of on whether you should submit your resume as a Word doc or PDF and a list of other worries I have heard.

If you’ve ever been in the workspace for a while, you could wonder: How far back should a resume go? Why shouldn’t you just include all of your experience?

What amount of work history is enough to convince a recruiter or hiring manager you’ve got the abilities for the role? Why are they not able to make sense of it all?

Well, the answer to this career perplexity is, it’s a lot more complicated.

Usually, your resume should go back no over 10-15 years. However, every applicant differs as well as each resume.

We look at a few questions to give you a better understanding of the structures of a proper resume: 

  1. What is a resume?
  2. Why Shouldn’t You List Your Entire Work History on a Resume?
  3. How Far Back Should Your Resume Go?

Read About: How to List Skills Correctly on Your Resume

Why Shouldn’t You List Your Entire Work History On A Resume?

There are a couple of reasons you might not want to add every job you’ve ever had on a resume, particularly as your career crosses that 10- 15-year mark, and you ought to keep these in mind as you decide what’s appropriate for your resume.

You’ll want to:

Check Out: Career Change Resume Examples + Tips

Stick to the Most Relevant Information

You may ask, why 10-15 years? The fact is that’s the timeframe employers and recruiters perceive as most relevant.

It’s important to note that recruiters are not interested in your achievement, particularly as an entry-level employee if you’ve been in the field for about 20 years.

And even if you’re early in your career, they don’t really need to know about a paper course on a resume mapped for a tech position.

Your resume ought to be a high-level summary of your salient professional achievements, not a treatise on all your jobs and duties since middle school.

Hand recruiters want to have a quick look at why you’re the right person for this job, and your experience for the past 10 years is most likely the reason.

So you have to give this a second thought before you let unnecessary information take up real estate on your resume. 

Instead, make use of that space to highlight applicable achievements, positions, and experiences that more closely align with the jobs you’re targeting.

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Keep Things Brief

If you keep your experience boxed in the last 10-15 years, it also becomes easier for recruiters to review your work history with a hasty glance over your resume.

As you get further along in your career, it’s all right for your resume to stretch to two pages—but asides from that, it will be too long for a recruiter to take a glance, and they could even skip it entirely.

So while you may feel a little deprived of losing your years of sweat equity, you certainly will be more likely to make it past that first glance if you cut down on your experience schedule.

Avoid Age Discrimination

Regrettably, age prejudice in hiring isn’t a rumor, and possessing too many years of experience on your resume could fast-track it to the declination pile.

It’s characteristic of hiring managers to look at resumes with 20+ years of experience and authenticate by the belief that the candidate is too expensive.

Also, possibly feel sufficiently challenged, or even otherwise feel the person has too much experience for consideration.

Therefore, believing that age-proofing your resume is good for your job search, and limits your experience to only the most relevant and recent, is a great place to begin.

How Far Back Should Your Resume Go?

The answer varies, and it depends on your situation. However, there are two powerful factors: 

How long you’ve been in the employment game; and How that experience aligns with your current job targets.

Recent Grads (Up to Two Years of Experience)

You may include your academic, professional, and personal experiences and achievements from both high school and college. But the key thing is that you’ll desire to highlight your transferable skills.

Show how you used leadership, collaboration, problem-solving, communication, and time management skills in related class projects, volunteer work, sport, leadership roles, internship, passion projects, or part-time jobs.

Simply ensure you’re being selective. Prior to when you add something, ask yourself if taking part in that car wash fundraiser would really advance your goal for a copywriter position.

This could be possible if you wrote the social media messaging, consequently act accordingly.

Young Professionals (Two to Five Years of Experience)

At this level, you have sufficient work experience under your belt to leave college courses, projects, awards, and GPAs off your resume or curriculum vitae.

Unless you had a notable long-term job or highly relevant internship with serious name-drop appeal, employers aren’t interested any longer in your college affairs.

You should stick to your post-grad experience. But remember that those post-grad experiences don’t all need to come from your nine-to-five job.

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Improve your resume by showing your professional skillfulness outside of work. Make use of volunteer experiences, side hustles, leadership roles, professional organizations, and affiliations to include personality instead of years to your work history.

Mid-Level and Experienced Professionals (More Than Five Years of Experience)

After you must have attained the five-year mark, you ought to pay attention to pertinent roles and duties that will improve your qualifications for your next career option.

This may imply you play down or even omit early professional and part-time positions and promote more relevant work experiences as the basic focus, probably with more detail.

And as you get closer into your career, that “10 to 15 years” rule will emanate and you can make use of it as a guide when discussing whether to keep a position on your resume.

You ought to put into consideration if your experience requires a two-page resume, ensure you keep in mind how relevant every single entry and bullet point you’re adding literally is.

Once you have more job titles in your palms, you could put into consideration dividing your work experience into two separate sections:

Related Experience: here, include the roles and duties closely related with your job search targets with detailed bullets that emphasize your achievements. The vital thing is making it relevant and transferable skills – which should also be the focal point of your resume content. If you have a relevant experience that you really need to include outside of the last 10 to 15 years—if you’re making a career change, for example—you can list it here.

Other Experience: here, you can simply list unrelated positions within the last 10 to 15 years with no descriptions or bullet points, so there are no visible gaps or spaces on your resume.

When you do this, you will keep your most relevant experience front and centre so a recruiter or hiring manager doesn’t have to go hunting for it in a more extensive career history.

People Coming Back to Work After a Large Gap

If you’ve taken a break from your career, which makes most or all of your experience exempt from the 10- to 15-year circle—to raise kids. For instance, you probably have to go back a little ahead on your resume.

This is all right, but you ought to explain upfront why your most recent work experience is so far back. You may do this in a cover letter or in a resume summary right at the top of the page.

But then, you ought to keep in mind how relevant your experience is as you decide on what to include and exclude.

Also, if you’ve done anything in the meantime, whether it’s a part-time job, side hustle or remote or not, or something else to keep you updated in your discipline, do well to include that as well.

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How Far Back Should A Resume Go For Education?

If you have over 10 to 15 years of experience, you may need to put your education at the bottom of your resume without a graduation date.

If you have 5-7 years of experience, do well to put your education at the bottom of the resume with your graduation date.

How Many Pages Should A Resume Be 2022?

Most resumes ought to be two pages long. Two pages are the standard length.

The reason is to fit all your keywords, work history, experience, and skills on your resume.

What Personal Information Should Not Be Included On The Resume?

Things not to put on your resume may include:

  1. Too much information.
  2. A solid wall of text.
  3. Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.
  4. Inaccuracies about your qualifications or experience.
  5. Unnecessary personal information.
  6. Your age.
  7. Comments that are negative about a former employer.
  8. Details about your hobbies and interests.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does a resume have to be one page?

No, especially if you have 10+ years of experience or lots of achievements.

Why do I need a resume?

The reason for a resume is to induce a potential employer sufficiently to desire to grant you an interview.

What is the difference between Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a Resume?

A curriculum vitae (CV) is an academic resume and you can use it when carrying out research and for college/university teaching positions. Whereas, a resume is usually brief – commonly one page – and specifically focuses on work experience.

Should my resume be written chronologically or functionally?

The style which you make use of for your resume really depends on where you are in your career and the bearing of your experience on the role you’re applying for.

Should I tailor my resume?

Yes, what is obtainable for one role may not be obtainable for another, so making adjustments to your resume for specific roles can increase your chances of being considered for the job.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, your resume ought to give a narrative of how your associated experiences and accomplishments make you the best candidate for a position or your next position; it’s not about the number of work anniversaries you’ve feted.

Because when it’s all stated and done, that’s what gets you hired.

References

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