How An Earlier Experience Section Works
The process I follow when creating an earlier experience section that includes roles from 15+ years prior is as follows:
#1 Identify: Determine which roles, if any, advance or reinforce the story I am trying to tell.
#2 Synopsize: Sometimes I dont include anything more than the name and job title, but if theres a noteworthy achievement, one line is more than enough to explain the point that makes this role worth including.
#3 Remove Dates: In my experience, removing the dates helps the reader bypass the previously-discussed rabbit hole.
A caveat: When a point from this Earlier Experience category is particularly noteworthy, Ill make sure to reference it in the summary section at the top of page one, a technique that informs the reader while also offering a tease to incent them to continue to the bottom of page 2.
When To Go Back Further Than 15 Years In Work History
In today’s employment market, having more than 15 years of experience on a resume/CV is unusual. Hiring supervisors are usually just interested in the previous 15 years of your job experience. Anything that occurred more than 15 years ago has the potential to become obsolete.
Let’s say you worked as a project manager for a software business for five years. Then you got a job as a product manager at another business, where you worked for the following 12 years.
When revising your resume/CV, it’s generally a good idea to leave out your five years as a project manager in favor of focusing on your achievements as a creative director.
Potential employers and clientele are more likely to be interested in what you have accomplished in your most recent position than in positions where you have worked for more than 12 years.
How Many Previous Jobs To List For Mid
If you have several years of work experience, you should include entry-level jobs on your resume.
If youve only ever worked at one company, list your different job titles and responsibilities there to showcase your career progression.
On the other hand, if youve had 7 jobs in the past 15 years, only include bullet points under the jobs relevant to the role youre applying for. You can just provide the title, company, and dates for the less relevant positions. Including the less relevant jobs:
- helps illustrate your career growth to employers
- reassures them you still have room to progress as a professional
Wondering what transferable skills you can list? There are many skills for your resume you can include to impress the hiring manager.
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Why Do You Only Include The Past 10
As I mentioned above, many fields are advancing so rapidly that experience from 10-15 years ago simply isnt relevant today. There are other reasons to include only the most recent experience on your resume.
Including only the most recent 10-15 years of experience cuts back on the clutter and text density on your resume. Youre not trying to cram 20 or 30 years of experience into two pages. Instead, youre able to really showcase and highlight your contributions from the last 10 years and give it full attention and space.
Using the past 10 years of work experience also cuts off any opportunities for implicit age bias. As a career expert who works with middle-aged job seekers every day, Id love to be able to say that I never hear of age discrimination but that simply isnt so. By removing dates from earlier work history were minimizing any opportunities for age bias before a candidate has been offered more serious consideration. In other words, they can see your value and contributions first and foremost.
Mature Career Job Applicants
Older applicants might be tempted to include older jobs that they did decades ago, but this can be a huge mistake in a job application.
Age discrimination is rife where recruitment is concerned. If you are in the latter stages of your career, chances are that the jobs you are targeting call for a considerable amount of experience and knowledge. However, what made you valuable to a company twenty years ago, is probably not what makes you valuable to a company today.
Think carefully before including a job history longer than ten years. Instead, focus on understanding what the employer is looking for and demonstrating that you have those skills. If you agree with the author Malcolm Gladwell, most industry experts have subject matter expertise at 10,000 hours or five years. So, if you have this many years of experience in any specific type of work, that’s sufficient, and there is no need to add any more.
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Realistically The Resume Only Needs To Go Back 10
Most industry experts have subject matter expertise at 10,000 hours or five years and change. So if you have these many years of experience in any specific type of generalized work, then that should be sufficient.
If you are trying to showcase your diversity of background, experience, education, and skill sets, then 10-15 years should be able to showcase and demonstrate what you have achieved and your capabilities for a variety of types of work.
What you do not want to do is showcase or provide dates for any work experience that shows you have been in the field or employed more than 20 years. This could backfire in some recruiters seeing old folks or age bias.
I always advise my resume clients if you want to emphasize more than 20 years of work, then just note 20+ years versus 25, 30, or more.
Matthew Warzel, CPRW
Certified Professional Resume Writer | Certified Internet Recruiter | President, MJW Careers, LLC
Crafting A Resume For The Mid
To show progression within a company, list promotions or multiple positions under a subheading with the company name. List the most recent positions first. See below.
Digital Content Manager, 2008 to 2010
Content Coordinator, 2006 to 2008
More senior-level executives can put the first ten years of their career under the headline Other Notable Experience after listing their most recent positions. But there are no hard and fast rules.
Show progression in terms of responsibilities and achievements, and use quantifiable results. For example, “developed a social media marketing campaign that increased outreach by 35% and sales by 56%.”
Avoid adding any jobs that you did before graduating unless they stand out and have direct relevance to the job. This might be the case if you are changing careers and some past experience from that period is now relevant. If you have military service, impressive internships, or anything else notable from college, add those items under the heading Notable projects, or Notable accomplishments.
Add only two or three sentences under each one, or use bullet points, and dont add dates if you dont have to.
Try to frame your resume as your story, your accomplishments, and the benefits you offer to an employer. Consider any technology that you might have been exposed to that might be of particular value to an employer.
Resume Tip: Always list experience with the most recent jobs first.
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To Prioritise Your Relevant Experience
Your career path to date is more than likely an upward trajectory . That means that, currently, you’re at the height of your career. In your most recent role, you’ve probably obtained some of your biggest achievements, procured the most valuable skills and held your most senior job title to date.
So if that’s the case, why would you draw attention to positions that you had over 10 years ago when you were less qualified? By chopping earlier positions, you give recruiters exactly what they want: your best, most relevant skills not a comprehensive history of your entire career.
How Far Should My Resume Go Back If Im A Student
Many times, students feel like theyre in no mans land when it comes to putting together a CV or resume. But, its important to recognise you shouldnt sell yourself short, there is still plenty on offer and many desirable attributes that you can use to make yourself stand out amongst other candidates!
Students still have skills that employers are looking to add to their talent pool. Its important to bring attention to both the hard and soft skills that make your resume shine! Include technical skills you have such as Microsoft Office, Photoshop as well as languages that you may have gained while in school. Also, dont overlook your soft skills like your attitude, how you communicate with others and other personality traits that show you work well in a productive team environment. Its likely that you have many more skills than you give yourself credit for, spend some time to sit down and list them all, selecting the most relevant ones for your resume and your chosen career path.
You will more than likely not have a decade of experience, but highlight any internships, volunteer work, and any university jobs you feel can push you towards the top. Make each piece relevant to the job youre applying for and look to keep your CV to one page in total length.
Student Resume Examples – 1 page is the perfect length
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How Far Back Should A Mid
The mid-career resume can often still be restricted to one page and if you minimize the details about your education, there is often plenty of space to talk about your last 3-4 roles for the past fifteen years. If you have worked for a significant number of employers over this period, it may be worth doing each role justice and increasing the resume size to two pages. Just make sure that it is all relevant.
The Details May Reach To 15 Years Back At Maximum If You Already Had Working Experiences That Long
There are no strict rules of what details to put in your resume as long as you think they can contribute to your being hired but particulars exceeding further than that long might just be ignored or paid less attention.
However, its more important to consider the relevance of your past responsibilities to the job you are currently seeking. If there are duties way back that you think are more crucial to the job youre applying, include it on the first lines.
Hiring usually really depends on the persons skills and determination to work in a company, and not just to how much is his or her experience in the past years.
We all look for how can one be essential in the business and how far can one go to satisfy the companys need for qualified workers.
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Highlight Former Achievements In A New Way
Of course, if you’ve got an impressive accomplishment or title sitting outside that two-decade limit, include it.
“If 30 years ago is the role where you discovered a patent still in use today, you ought to mention that,” says Ceniza-Levine.
You have a few different options for how you chose to work that information in. If a title you’ve held or company you’ve worked for is likely to impress a recruiter, consider a section called “earlier work history” or something similar where you can simply list previous jobs, by noting only the title, company and location, says Amanda Augustine, a career coach with TopResume. Or you could try including it in a “career notes” or “career highlights” section at the bottom of your current work experience by writing something like: “additional experience working for ABC company or serving clients like XYZ,” adds Augustine.
If the role you want to include is one where you did discover a patent or win an impressive industry award, you could also draw attention to this by folding such an achievement into the summary statement, which is typically a short paragraph at the top of your resume that acts as an elevator pitch to readers selling your skills and experience. Or you could include it in a section following your work history that lists awards or accomplishments you’ve earned over the course of your career.
It Depends On Where You Are In Your Career
Assuming that you are a more experienced job seeker, I suggest only to present the 2-3 most relevant positions for the specific job that you are applying for.
For the additional roles, you should only mention the title, company, and duration. By doing so, you will have more room to showcase your achievements and expertise that is relevant for the given position.
With that said, it does not make sense to go too far back if you have many jobs under your belt. It is better to remove a few of the old positions to present a more detailed description of your recent jobs.
HR Partner, MyPerfectResume
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Decide On A Resume Length
The length of your resume can determine how far you can go when describing work experience. If you’re an entry- to the mid-level candidate, you can usually fit all of your relevant experience on one page. Candidates with more experience or those applying for government or education roles might need a two-page resume. Keeping yourself to a one-page resume can help you limit how much experience you include.
How Far Back Is Too Far On A Resume
I Write Resumes that Help People Land Interviews Fast Executive Storyteller, Resume & LinkedIn Writer No Worksheets/Prep High-Touch + Turnkey Host of Resume Storyteller Podcast Former Journalist
When it comes to writing a resume, many struggle with deciding how far back to go, what to include, and what not to include as part of your career history.
I am an advocate of devoting the majority of the real estate on your resume to what happened in the past 15 years.
In this article, Ill present the case for and against this stance, discuss some workarounds that might work for everyone, and throw in my two cents on what to include on LinkedIn.
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How Far Back Should My Resume Go For Education
Achieving a grade, passing an exam, gaining an industry qualification, in many ways these appear as greater achievements than those accomplished through work experience. It feels like a crime to omit any education from a resume! But there are things you can do to keep your education history on your resume concise without detracting from your achievements.
With school grades, as you become older and more experienced these become less important and relevant. However, you should always include your degree education and grades. Graduating is no mean feet and something that should always remain as a constant on your resume.
With regards to professional qualifications, and other types of education, my advice is to include as much of it that is relevant for the roles you are applying for. For example, there is no point featuring a bricklaying course you did in 2003 if you are applying to marketing jobs.
It is less important when you achieved your qualifications than it is to how relevant they are for the professions and jobs you are applying for. Relevancy is key.
So How Far Back Should You List Your Experience On Your Resume
Though some people will hand out neat and tidy answers like 10 years or 3 jobs ago, thereâs really no true, definitive answer. It truly depends on your personal work history and whatâs most relevant to the job youâre looking for next. Below are some guidelines you can follow to determine if the experience is worth keeping on your resume or if it should be cut.
If youâve been a part of the workforce for 30 years, thereâs no way you can include absolutely everything in your work history in a 2-page resume. It just wonât be possible. A good rule of thumb: look at any experience older than 10 years with a critical eye. Thatâs not to say you canât include experience thatâs older than 10 years. However, if you do, it should showcase skills or experiences that your recent experience doesnât. Also, the older the job, the less detail you should include about it. For your 3 most recent jobs include a few bullet points about your responsibilities and achievements in the role. For older jobs, keep it to the bare minimum of your job title, the company and your start and end dates. If the hiring manager wants to know more, theyâll ask during your interview, but chances are theyâll place more emphasis on your more recent experience.
get rid of experience that is not relevant
use subheads to your advantage
delete anything from high school
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Including Additional Dates On Your Resume
If you’ve taken professional development courses or other educational classes, it’s not necessary to list dates. If you have certifications, you should list the dates because employers will want to know that your accreditations are current.
When leaving experience and dates off a resume, do it strategically.
A resume, for example, with only a few jobs when you’re an experienced candidate or a resume with no dates at all, can be a red flag for hiring managers. Be sure your resume provides a clear synopsis of your work history to employers.
If the positions you held earlier in your career are relevant to your current objectives, consider shortening the descriptions of your jobs to reduce the length of your resume rather than deleting the positions from your resume.
You Should Emphasize Recent Accomplishments And Not Rest On Your Laurels
Your resume tells your audience that you have a track record in sensing the organizations issues and taking action on them.
Recent accomplishments are much more relevant than those of the distant past. For the distant past, only list promotions or highly-significant accomplishments.
Your goal is advancement in your career. Interestingly, my research shows that strategic thinking is rare and valuable. People who demonstrate competent strategic thinking are more likely to get hired or to be promoted. My book, How to Think Strategically, provides practical information for building your personal brand to highlight your ability to be a competent strategic thinker.
Dont present a boring litany of positions held and responsibilities of that position.
Instead, describe the major accomplishments of your career. Did you close a big sale, win a prize, launch a new product, open a new market?
I find that the best resumes are framed in terms of stories, accomplishments, and benefits.
One of the tools described in my book is the strategic thinking micro skill of storytelling. The STAR acronym is helpful: Situation, Task, Action, Result.
- What was the situation you were in?
- What were you tasked to do?
- What action did you take?
- What was the result?
Director of Operations, MyCorporation.com
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