Q&A: How Far Back Should A Resume Go (FOR WORK HISTORY) 2020?

Most times we get caught up in the middle of how far back should a resume go? This might be as a result of being out of the professional world for a while or we just find it difficult to present our past work experience on the resume without having to exceed the two-page limit.
how far back should a resume go

Knowing how far back should your resume go is what I would call a milestone as this helps you highlight key points and filter out unnecessary details from your resume.

In this article, I will be discussing how far back should a resume go, how much job experience should be on a resume/years of experience on a resume, when is the right time to filter out old jobs from your resume, and much more.

Without much ado, let’s get started.

HOW FAR BACK SHOULD A RESUME GO?


When we write your resume for you, there are a couple of questions we tend to ask to give us more clarity. The factors we consider include:

What criteria your industry is requesting for:

Listing the past 10-15 years of work experience on your resume for some industries such as the Academia and Civil service is actually not a big deal as this is a standard that meets their requirement(s).

While listing your past 10-15 years of work experience is not a good fit for some industries such as the technology industry, it is believed that there are rapid changes that occur in the technological world on a daily basis.

The number of years to adopt in your resume is dependent on the job description:

Most employers highlight the number of years of work experience they want to see in their job description listing. It is your duty to check and read through every detail of their listings in order to know the number of years to put in your resume.

How far to go back on a resume is dependent on the relevance of the job to the skills you have:

When an employer skims through your resume, the first thing that catches his/her attention is the relevance of the job they have provided to the work experience or skill you provide. So before drafting your resume, ensure you take into knowledge the details of the job description.

HOW LONG SHOULD A RESUME BE?


Resumes are entirely different from CVs – a CV is a step by step detailed document describing one’s accomplishments, positions, appearances, etc.

In short, it is a comprehensive description of the major task you accomplished in your previous or past work experiences while resumes are shorter than CVs.

They showcase the most important and relevant details about your working history.

Your resume should not go beyond two pages, and always ensure you keep it under two pages except on certain special conditions or requirements.

Further Reading: The Differences Between A CV and a Resume

Employers won’t read all that is written in your resume, they skim through for important details and that includes your work experience and skills, so ensure you keep it short, precise, and relevant. Try not to exceed the two-page limit.

HOW MANY JOBS SHOULD I LIST ON MY RESUME?


There is no limit to the listing of jobs on your resume. You can list as much as you want so far the jobs provided are all relevant and you are not going above the 10 years limit.

If the skills you implemented 10 years ago is still very relevant and effective, you can list it as a part of your job positions. To list old jobs on your resume, check out the template below.

1. Work experience above 10 years

IT HELP DESK ANALYST  – 2010 – 2020

XYZ Company – Sometown TX

Note: Use bullet to highlight and summarize your main duty

2. Work experience with a different employer and similar experience

Let’s say you carried out the same responsibilities under different employers, here is how to list your experience:

IT SUPPORT OFFICER  – 2012 – 2019
XYZ Company | 2015 – 2019
ABC Company | 2012 – 2015

Note: Summarize your duties using one or two bullet point

3. Same employer different job positions

ABC Company  –  2014 – 2013
HELP DESK ANALYST | 2009 – 2013
HELP DESK TECHNICIAN | 2014 – 2017

Note: Summarize your duties using bullet point

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HOW FAR BACK SHOULD A RESUME GO FOR WORK HISTORY?

how far back should a resume go


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.

Try and apply for online training programs, improve your skills, etc. Ensure your work experience and skills are relevant for an IT position.

Give brief descriptions of your relevant work experience:

After you must have filtered out irrelevant work experiences, the next thing to do is to give a brief, detailed, and precise description of your relevant work experience. All work experience above 10 years should be filtered out.

Write in chronological order:

Resumes are written in a chronological pattern and when I say chronological, I mean giving details about events as they relate to time. So the best thing to do is to focus on work history done in the past 10 years leaving out older work experiences, but if you feel your older work experience will give you more credibility then go with the next tip.

Create a section for early work experiences:

It is very possible that you have had several career accomplishments that give you more credibility and boost your chances of getting the job. I would advise you to create a section below your work history where you highlight your key achievements and accomplishments.

Stick to the one page or two pages limit of a resume:

Your resume can exceed a page, but make sure it does not exceed the two-page limit. Having a bulky content on your resume can be somewhat tiring to your employer, ensure the details provided are relevant, precise, and short meeting up with the requirement(s) of your employer.

CONCLUSION

In summary, ensure you provide skills and job experience relevant to your employers’ requirements. The most important thing is to add value and remain relevant. For the question on “how far back to go on resume for work history” the answer is 10 to 15 years. Thanks for reading.

 

Further Reading:

 

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CEOMichaelHR Editor

CEOMichaelHR Editor

International HR recruiter and resume specialist.

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