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How Many Years Should You Go Back on Your Resume?

A well-written and properly structured resume is an invaluable tool for any jobseeker. It can be the difference-maker that helps you forge fantastic first impressions, secure interviews and get the job of your dreams. However, writing a top-quality resume isn’t easy. That’s why so many people are turning to and finding a top rated and trusted resume writing career agencies in Denver Colorado to give them assistance in standing out in the job market.

Part of the challenge of writing a resume is knowing what to include and what to leave out. That’s especially true for the “Experience” or “Career” section. On the one hand, you probably don’t want to list every single job you’ve ever had – especially if you’ve had a long career. On the other hand, you don’t want to leave out information that could be interesting or relevant to the employer.

This guide is here to help. We’ll look at how far back your resume should go and general rules of thumb to follow when filling out the “Experience” section.

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How Far Should Your Resume Go Back?

Sadly, there’s no simple, singular answer to this question. The fact of the matter is that it all depends on numerous factors, including your career so far, the role you’re applying for, and the industry you work in.

Just as you don’t necessarily need to follow the famous one-page rule when writing your resume, there are cases when including more or less experience can be the right approach.

Here are some recommendations for people at different stages of their careers.

Students and Graduates

For students and graduates, the question of how much experience to include on your resume isn’t such a big one. You probably don’t have all that much working experience at this stage of life, so you don’t need to worry about going back too far. However, you may still have had a range of part-time positions, voluntary roles, or even engagements with school clubs and organizations, too.

In general, for students and graduates, a one-page resume is usually the best option. There’s no harm in including most of your professional experiences up to that point. Even if they’re not directly related to the role you’re applying for, they may still demonstrate that you’re a passionate and hard-working person. Some roles may also have transferable skills.

For instance, if you had a part-time retail job, it shows that you’re likely a good team player and strong communicator. The same logic applies to any clubs or organizations you’ve been part of in the past. Maybe you’re applying for a marketing role and spent time working on the school paper in the past. If so, include it on your resume to show off your organizational skills.

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Early to Mid-Career Professionals

Next, let’s consider those who are in the early or middle stages of their careers, with anywhere from five to 15 years of working experience. The more experience you gain and the more roles you take on, the more you need to consider which ones are worth including on your resume. In many cases, you may not want to list every job you’ve had.

Instead, focus on the most relevant experiences, especially if you’re approaching or have already surpassed 10 years of work. At that point, there’s no need to talk about the part-time jobs you had back in college or your first role post-graduation. Instead, employers will primarily be concerned with your most recent and relevant roles, particularly those in the last five to 10 years.

Having a two-page resume is usually recommended at this stage, especially if you've worked at more than 3 employers in 10-15 years.

Senior Professionals Need a Two-Page Resume - Why?

Finally, the group that needs to think most carefully about how far to go back on their resumes are the senior professionals. If you have over 15 years of experience, you fall into this category. At this stage, you will not want to detail your entire career up to that stage. Instead, you’ll probably need to do quite a lot of trimming, cutting out your earliest and most irrelevant roles.

The general rule of thumb to follow here is to not go back any further than 10-15 years. That should give you more than enough leeway to show employers what you’ve been doing in your most recent and relevant roles. It also opens space elsewhere on your resume to list your most notable achievements. With so many resumes being read by ATS systems nowadays, you can also use that extra space to add valuable keywords to the text and help you pass the scans.

Senior professionals such as C-suites, Vice Presidents, or high level leadership roles almost always require a two plus page resume to show off their accolades. Landing a role at this level will require finding a top rated resume writing service for executives in Denver that have an overwhelming experience assisting high level income earners with complex career objectives.

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Tips and Tricks to Help Writing the Experience Section

Now let’s look at a few extra tips and tricks that can help you fill out the “Experience” part of your resume with the right amount of content.

Keep It Relevant

Often, recruiters want quality not quantity when it comes to experience. They won’t necessarily be impressed by a long list of jobs and responsibilities. Instead, they’ll look for candidates who can demonstrate experience that is relevant to the role in question.

Tailor Your Resume for Each Application

Don’t make the mistake of having a stock resume for every job you apply for. Instead, take the time to edit and tailor it according to the role you want. Review the job description and list of requirements and adjust your “Experience” section to highlight your most relevant former roles.

Adjust According to the Industry

In some industries, especially those that evolve and change rapidly, like technology or marketing, there’s no need to go back very far at all in your “Experience” section. Instead, keep the focus on your most impactful jobs and highlight your recent achievements.

Make Your Resume "POP" Out To Employers

Overall, in most cases, you don’t need to go back too far in your resume, and rarely further than 15 years. By focusing on recent, relevant work, you can demonstrate your most valuable and up-to-date skills to prospective employers.

However, it’s still important to ensure that the rest of your resume is well-written and structured. And that’s not always easy. Professional resume editing services in Denver can help. Our expert writers have years of experience in crafting resumes that get results. Contact us today to learn more.

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