Should you include those early years on your resume? Here’s how to determine what to keep – and what to ditch.
Today’s hiring managers have stacks of applications to get through quickly, so job seekers need to make each moment count when presenting themselves to prospective employers. While every candidate wants to give a thorough picture of accomplishments and skills, is it necessary to list every single job one’s ever held on a resume?
“Determining how many years of work history to include on your resume can be a tricky task and is highly dependent on the unique situation of every job seeker,” says Peter Yang, co-founder of ResumeGo. “While the standard rule of thumb is to include roughly your last 10 years of work experience, this may not always make sense. It’s critical that you consider how relevant and important older pieces of work experience are to the jobs that you are currently looking for. If some of your earlier jobs are able to effectively communicate the strengths and abilities that you want to emphasize to your future employer, then by all means include them on your resume. On the flip side, if some more recent positions that you’ve held are completely irrelevant to the jobs you are now seeking, it may be best to leave them off your resume.”
While there’s no hard and fast rule, here are some scenarios to consider and tips for what to include.
Start with the most relevant experience
Bart Turczynski, a resume expert at Uptowork.com, suggests reading the job description carefully to help you determine what to include – and how far back to go. “Do some brainstorming to figure out what relevant experience and skills you possess,” he says. “Now, create an outline of your resume. Include only those of your jobs that are relevant to the opening. If you aren’t a recent graduate or senior executive baby boomer, you’ll probably include no more than five positions that span a total of no more than 10-15 years.”