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How Far Back Should Your Employment History Go on Your Resume?

by Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Freelance Writer on May 11th, 2011

When I work with clients, I often find a similar question ‘pops up’ as we are discussing the goals of the resume. No matter the client and job experience history, the client always asks, “How far back should my employment history go on my resume?” What they are really asking is the following: Do I need to put all of my jobs on my resume?

My general rule is that I include ten years of work history. Beyond that, ideas, technologies, and processes may become out-of-date. However, writing a resume is an art, not a science. This means there is always room for exceptions. During the past week, I have been approached by a client that serves as a perfect example.

This particular client owns his own business and also works at another facility. He has had two jobs for over 18 years and has more than 35 years of total work experience. If we only go back to the past ten years of his professional accomplishments, we may not be ‘hitting’ the appropriate tasks and experiences which are vital to the job he is seeking. In this case, I will be sure to include additional jobs beyond the ten years I normally include.

When I landed my first job out of college, I always included every single job I had on my resume. This is because I didn’t have the ten years of experience, but surely wanted to let the prospective employer know that I was a responsible, dedicated, and hard-worker. At this point, I no longer need to include the information from my high school days of working as a bank teller. However, if I was applying to be vice president of a bank, I would surely include that job as it shows I have worked in a similar environment.

If you contact a Certified Professional Resume Writer like Feather Communications, you will be asked about all of your job experiences and not just the past ten years. With the help of a professional, it will be easier to decide how far back to go with your employment history and which information is most important.

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