One hang-up that many people have when writing their resume is how much work experience they should include. Do you need to list every job you’ve had since college? Is the most recent 10 years enough? Where do part-time or short-term jobs fit in? These are questions that people regularly stumble over, but there is not one cut-and-dry answer. How much experience you include really depends on your individual situation and career.
If you have been working at the same company for the past 30 years, you will want to show your career progression and promotions. This is not to say that you will necessarily want to elaborate on every position you have held. On the other hand, if you have held multiple jobs over the years, you may not want to go back that far and may find that the past 10 years is enough to showcase your abilities and accomplishments. Ten years is a general rule of thumb as it will usually give hiring managers a good sense of your career. You want to give them enough information to make the decision to call you for an interview.
Consider the value of each position. What did you accomplish and how does it relate to the type of job you are applying for? If you held a job for only a few months or it was something far back in your career, you may be safe leaving it off, especially if it does not provide strong support. While you don’t want to leave large gaps in employment, you also don’t want to waste valuable space with mediocre experience. There is also the chance that you did similar work in a more long-term position or one in which you achieved greater results.
Consider how times have changed. Technology and business focus have changed a great deal over the years. While you may have had great successes 25 years ago, how relevant are they to today’s market? Focus on skills that are current and transferable. This is especially true when it comes to positions in the information technology field. It is probably not worth mentioning if the system or technology no longer exists or has advanced significantly. Focus on elaborating on more recent skills and experience that is relevant.
Consider your career path. If you are switching careers, you don’t want to waste a lot of space on previous jobs that are unrelated. You can simply list them as additional experience or pick out the most important accomplishments to highlight instead of going into more detail. You want to show that you have been continually employed, but the information you are focusing on should be that which relates to the field you are going into.
Be strategic in deciding what is included and elaborated upon. Your resume is a way of marketing yourself to potential employers. It is not a legal document. You are not obligated to disclose every job you have held. As you progress through the interview process there will probably be more forms to fill out where you can then list each position.
If you are unsure of what you should include or how much detail to add, the team at Chic Resumes can help. We will work with you to identify your strongest assets, accomplishments, and experience and craft a resume that promotes you a positive light. Contact Chic Resumes at (803) 831-7444 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation.