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How Far Back To Go On Resume For Work History

When To Note Your Reason For Leaving

Tips for job seekers: How far back to go on a resume

When you mention a short-term job on your resume, be sure to include a note about why you held the job for only a brief time if its relevant and doesn’t reflect negatively on you. You don’t want the employer to speculate why you left so soon. For example, you might say that you filled in for an employee on leave or were hired to staff a time-limited project.

When To Go Back 5 To 10 Years On A Resume

One of the most common reasons why youd want to limit the amount of work experience you show is a significant career change.

Theres nothing wrong with deciding to switch careers, its just that your past experience may not be that relevant to what the employer is looking for.

So, if you graduated from business school, but decided to switch careers and become a lawyer instead, you may want to skip the experience you have in the business field if it isnt relevant. Of course, in some cases, that experience will be relevant and thats when you use it to your advantage .

You can also include any awards, certificates, and courses relevant to the position in order to boost your application.

When To Go Back Further Than 15 Years

Including more than 15 years of experience on a resume is a rare occurrence in today’s job market. Typically, hiring managers are only interested in knowing the last 15 years of your work history. Anything that happened more than 15 years in the past has the potential to be irrelevant. For example, suppose you worked for a marketing agency for five years as a graphic designer. Then, you were offered the position of creative director at another company where you stayed for the next 12 years.

When updating your resume, it would probably be a good idea to omit your five years as a graphic designer in favor of including more information about what you accomplished as a creative director. Potential employers and clients would typically be more interested in what you have achieved in your most recent position rather than in where you worked more than 12 years in the past.

The exception to this rule would be if you held the same job for 15 years or more. In that case, your endurance, experience and commitment could make you a more appealing candidate. However, applicants with many years of experience could also be perceived as out of touch or difficult to train. Your challenge as an older professional will be to convince hiring managers that you are willing to learn and that your years of experience make you a more valuable asset to the team.

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How To Write A Work Experience Section

Begin with your current or most recent job and continue with the previous ones. The description of each job position should include the following information: name of the company, their location, job title, dates, responsibilities and achievements, promotions, and awards.

Sounds simple enough, doesnt it? Despite that, the employment history section is probably the most difficult to write. Much of the difficulty comes from the sheer amount of information you have to include in this section.

Also, most difficulties only appear once you stop writing it. Is your work experience section too short? Is it too long? Does it look somewhat chaotic? Dont worry. This is how you can include some of the most common mistakes:

How Long Should A Resume In 2020 Be

Your work history: How far back should you go on a resume ...

Back in the days keeping your resume a single page used to be a strategic thing to do.

It was cheaper to print and easier to store.

But in the 21st century, most recruiters and employers have long forgotten what sifting through paper mountains of applications feels like. Its all digital now.

A digital resume gives you the chance to create a high-impact and well-structured application that can go over one page.

And even though we wrote a whole article on resume length in 2020 the answer remains the same its all about staying relevant to the position youre applying.

If youre certain the employer wants you to go in detail about your work experience then do just that.

If you have a lot of relevant work experience, backed by volunteer work and side projects and a single page isnt enough, then definitely expand on a second page.

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To Mitigate Age Discrimination

Even though the 2010 Equality Act protects job hunters from age discrimination, the bias still exists in recruitment. Almost half of UK workers feel their age holds them back when applying for jobs, and one in seven believe they have been denied a role due to their age.

Whilst there are legal measures in place to mitigate age discrimination during the recruitment process, there are a few CV-writing tactics you can implement too. Removing your earlier employment history or scaling down old details will help shift the focus from your age to your talent.

Formatting Your Previous Work Experience To Impress Employers

The best resume format for job seekers is the reverse chronological format, which means you should begin your experience with your most recent role on top and then work backward through your professional career.

For each position, include the job title, dates, and company name, and then describe your professional experience and achievements in that role. You can either use a brief paragraph to describe the role and then bullets, or use only bullets. However, you should not use only paragraph format when writing your work experience section.

This is a mistake that many job seekers make, and it leads to their resume being skimmed over by recruiters and hiring managers. Bullets do a better job of catching attention and getting an employer to closely read your experience section.

If you held multiple jobs in a company over time, list each job with its own dates and relevant experience. Its a huge mistake to not show each specific job title under a company, because this shows that you were promoted and advanced.

As a final step, as you write your previous work descriptions and bullet points, glance at the job description to ensure youre covering the important skills that employers seem to want for the job youre pursuing.

This is known as tailoring a resume.

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Resume With No Professional Experience

If youre writing a resume with no professional experience, it may seem like you have little to nothing up your sleeve.

Fortunately, theres nothing to worry about, because you can use whatever experience you do have to your advantage.

Make sure to:

BS Computer Science, University of Houston


  • Wrote 2 game applications in Game Maker and Unity.
  • Modeled 15+ 3D objects.
  • Designed and developed 2D interactive flash Question and Answer game.
  • Excelled in cloud computing classes, maintaining 3.8 GPA.

Work History On An Entry

Resume Tip: How Far Back Should My Resume Go?

Finding enough work experience to list on an entry-level resume is a headache.

Fill your entry-level resume with valuable information for employers. For example, adding volunteer work to your resume as well as internships youve completed can make it more compelling. You can also include relevant coursework on your resume just make sure your bullet points are related to the job opening.

You can also list things like internship experience if you have any. Simply having something relevant in your experience section will make your entry-level resume stronger, even if you have to go as far back as college to pinpoint it.

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Is It Ever Okay To Include Experience From More Than 10

Yes, there are absolutely situations where its okay to include earlier experience. Lets say you want to transition back to an industry that you were in 20 years ago. It would help to be able to say youve had experience before and are familiar with the industry.

When you list this experience though, dont include it chronologically in your work history. Include it in a separate section entitled Earlier Experience. Then leave off the dates but highlight a few of your major wins and contributions to the industry.

Another scenario I see pop up is when someone has been with their current employer for more than 10 years or has only had two employers and the dates at the position prior would cause the resume to stretch past that 10-15 year mark. This is where it can be a bit tricky to decide whether to include it or not. Generally, though, its better to show progression and longevity than to exclude a role that could include accomplishments related to your next career move. Err on the side of inclusion rather than exclusion when in doubt or when you only have one or two roles with great longevity.

If youre facing a unique situation and youre not sure whether to include or leave off a role, leave a comment below and Ill be happy to offer a recommendation for tackling it. But generally speaking, if you stick to the most recent 10-15 years of experience and put any relevant prior experience in a separate undated section, youll be all set.

Consider The Level Of The Role

The level of the position you are applying for can also determine the amount of experience to include on your resume. Senior roles can have up to 15 years of experience or more if the information can boost your candidacy. If you are applying for a mid-level position, a 10-year employment history is ideal. Entry-level positions usually include up to five years of career experience.

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How Far Back Should My Work History Go On A Resume

How Far Back Should Your Resume Go?

Academic positions require years of proven research and educating expertise. Universities need to learn the candidates educational historywhich normally covers greater than 10 years. Because when its all said and accomplished, thats whats going to get you hired. For most industries, you presumably can list the past 10 to fifteen years of your work history on your resume.

But the key is that youll need to highlight your transferable skills. Before you add one thing, ask yourself if taking part in that automobile wash fundraiser would actually move the needle for a copywriter position , then act accordingly. Your resume must be a high-level summary of your related professional accomplishments, not a dissertation of all your jobs and obligations since middle faculty. Recruiters and hiring managers need to rapidly see why youre the best individual for this job, and your expertise in the past decade or so is most likely the reason. So suppose twice earlier than you let non-essential data take up actual estate on your resume.

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Use Subheads To Your Advantage

If youâve been a part of the full-time workforce for more than a few years, you might have bounced between a few different jobs, perhaps even different careers in different industries. Itâs important to organize your resume so hiring managers can zero in on your most relevant experience. For instance, if youâve jumped between jobs in human resources and sales, but are looking for a human resources job next, include all your HR experience at the top of your resume, and save the rest of your experience for another section. A great way to do this is to include two sections for your experience: ârelated experienceâ and âother work experience.â This allows you to point the recruiter directly to the highlights in your work history that make you a great candidate.

Create An Early Experience Section

An effective way to include experience older than 15 years in your resume is to have an “Early Experience Section.” The section, which you can also call “Previous Professional Experience,” allows you to mention the earliest achievements and skills you consider important to the position. However, the roles in this section should only have your title, company and location without the dates.

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What To Say About A Job You Didnt Include

If asked about other jobs you have held, you can simply say that you didn’t include the job because the position isn’t relevant to your current career path. You might add that you took the position to generate some cash flow while you pursued a more appropriate job .

If a previous short-term job helps you to make your case for the new position in question, then you should probably include it on your resume. However, if you werent successful in the previous job and don’t wish to draw attention to it, then you might prefer to leave the position off.

Its All About Relevancy

How Far Back Should You Go on Your Resume? – Virginia Franco Resumes

When it comes to placing old work experience on your resume, Aikman says to focus on relevancy. If you did something in high school or college that is more relevant to what you are trying to do than other recent experiences, then Aikman says you absolutely should include it because it adds to your qualifications.

For those with a large gap in their employment, filling out a job application or going to an interview might be nerve-wrecking if youâre worried an employer will notice how far back your resume goes. But if you accomplished things in your personal life that you are proud of, you can find ways to showcase those accomplishments on your resume as relevant experience.

For example, if there is a gap in your employment because you had to care for a family member or loved one, you can explain what you learned or accomplished through that experience in a way that showcases the relevant work to the job you are now applying to. Maybe that experience taught you how to manage another personâs lifeâso you can showcase why youâd be a great assistant or general manager.

âIt just comes down to pulling out the relevant words to describe what you did,â says Aikman. âIt may mean you need to be skilled in how you present the information, because you may not be able to use the language you used before. Think about how you can communicate this experience using language that will resonate with the employer.â

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How Far Back Should A Resume Go For Work History

Are you someone with or without loads of work experience and you are wondering how far back a resume should go for work history?

The question of how job or work history should be on a resume is dependent on your work experience.

As a college graduate with no work experience, would you rather tell your employer that you have got no work experience? Of course NO!

Brainstorm on some of the projects you completed while in college some of the leadership positions you held your internship, and use that in writing your work experience.

What if you have had decades of work experience, how far back would you want to go on your resume? Well, I have provided a few tips below on how far back to go on your resume:

Filter out irrelevant work experience:

If you have been in the working environment for over a decade, it is quite difficult to put all the details of your 30 years of work experience in a 2-page resume.

The best thing to do is filter out irrelevant work experience, leaving out skills and work experience that are relevant and up to date.

If you are into the field of technology, you would agree with me that the work experience you had thirty years ago if compared to recent years is a little bit irrelevant these days.

This is because time has changed and there are new advancements in the technological world on a daily basis and the best you can do if you are in this field is to move with time.

Give brief descriptions of your relevant work experience:

Which Jobs To Include

Keep in mind that a resume is a synopsis of your education and work experiences and that you dont have to include everything that you ever did, especially older jobs that arent pertinent to your career. For example, listing all the odd jobs you held while getting through college probably isnt necessary.

This is especially true if youve been out in the workforce for a while. In fact, if you have a lot of work experience, describing just the last 10 to 15 years is recommended. Including jobs you held earlier than this, even if they are relevant to your career search, may result in your being pegged as an older worker by companies prone to ageism in their hiring practices.

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