When creating your resume, how far back should you go? Should you showcase all 40+ years that you’ve been in the workforce, or should you consolidate and just highlight the past several years? Depending on your history and the type of position you’re applying for, the answer may vary. Also, don’t forget that your resume is an overview of your career and who you are – it doesn’t have to include every detail. Oftentimes employers will have you fill out a more in-depth history later on. For now, you want to present enough to grab their attention and demonstrate that you’re qualified.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding how much history to include on your resume and how detailed it should be:
Focus on the past 10 years to start. After all, this is what you have been doing most recently. Ten years is enough for most people to show growth and a variety of accomplishments. Target the achievements that align most effectively with the job posting and company mission. You want to show that you possess the qualities and skills a potential employer seeks and can make a positive difference.
Consolidate older experience. Realistically, many industries have changed a lot in the past 10 years. Technology has vastly improved, best practices have changed, and companies are always looking for ways to refine what they are doing. What you did on the job 15 years ago is probably outdated by today’s standards. Skills that are still relevant will most likely be demonstrated in your more recent experience. Consider listing the company and location, your position, and the years you worked there in an “additional professional experience” section. If there is a major achievement that stands out and is relevant, you can add a bullet point underneath, but otherwise just leave the entry without further detail. You can explain more in an interview if asked.
Add a highlighted experience section. If you’re switching careers or moving back into an industry or position you were in numerous years ago, you can bring attention to older experience as necessary. Emphasize key skills, projects, and accomplishments that are relevant to the job you are applying for currently. Then shift back to explaining your most recent experience.
Don’t expand on every job just for the sake of doing so or to try to fluff up your experience. Focus on the most important aspects that an employer will want to know and that will make you stand out as a qualified applicant. Consider your resume from a potential employer’s perspective and what they would want to see demonstrated in relation to the open position and their company culture.
Use your best judgment when it comes to presenting your career history. If you’ve been with the same company for the past 25 years, you certainly don’t want to sell yourself short, but chances are, your role has changed significantly since you first started. Make an educated decision about what to elaborate upon and what to simply list as experience. Chic Resumes can help you to cut unnecessary information on your resume and focus on what is most important. Revamp your resume today by calling (803) 831-7444 or emailing email@example.com
Amanda E. Clark founded Grammar Chic in 2008. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and holds degrees in Journalism, Political Science, and English. She launched Grammar Chic after freelancing for several years while simultaneously leading marketing and advertising initiatives for several Fortune 500 companies.