How Far Back Should a Resume Go? A Simple Guide

Posted July 21, 2020 by in Career
resume planning

If you’re on the job hunt, you know how crucial a resume can be. It’s the very first impression an employer gets of you, and if your resume is bland or unsound, chances are that the employer isn’t going to invite you to an interview. That’s why getting your resume right is the most important part when it comes to submitting job applications.

Are you applying for a myriad of jobs and not hearing anything back? The culprit might be your resume.

One thing that employers seek in a resume is experience. But how far back should a resume go? Here, we’re going to answer that question:

How Far Back Should a Resume Go? A Simple Guide

How Far Back Should a Resume Go

The experience section of your resume alone can land you an interview, but that’s only if it’s done well and correctly.

On the other hand, the experience section is often the section of a resume that turns away employers, dissuading them from the candidate. Either there are too many previous positions that are littering the page, or there’s too much white space that denotes a lack of work history.

So, the age-old question remains: how far back should a resume go?

Here’s the answer. Your resume should go back somewhere between 10 and 15 years, but only if that work experience is relevant to the job you’re applying for.

We’ll break it down in terms of positions for you so that you have a better understanding of what certain employers are looking for when they’re flipping through the resumes of potential candidates.

Beginner and Entry-Level Positions

If you’re new to the job market, freshly-graduated, or just simply don’t have much work experience, it’s easy to become discouraged.

However, there are ways to make what little experience you do have work for your resume and catch an employer’s eye!

If you’ve done any volunteer work, list it. Let the employer know with what organization you worked with and what was expected of you. This will show the employer that you can follow directions, work with a team, and have values that make you a quality candidate.

In addition to this, be sure to list skills and accomplishments that coincide with the job description. Try to pick words that are relevant to the job.

List any internships, part-time work, freelance, or projects that you’ve completed. However, don’t list anything you did in high school! It will make you seem juvenile.

Senior Positions

Seniors positions often require loads of professional experience.

You’ll want to use the same rule of thumb by listing relevant jobs that you completed 10 to 15 years ago, but keep in mind that employers won’t be interested in hearing about positions you held later than that. 

How many jobs should you list on a resume? As many that are relevant and recent.

What’s most important about the experience section when applying for senior positions is that you tailor your work history to make it relevant for the employer. Follow the job posting!

Are you looking for more ways to improve your resume? Check out these frequently asked questions for more information.

Landing the Interview

A well-written resume alone can land you an interview for your dream job. That’s why your resume is one of the most important factors when it comes to applying for jobs.

Now that you know the answer to “How far back should a resume go?”, you can update your resume and land that interview.

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