Writing your resume and trying to figure out how far back you should go? I can help with that. In general, I advise my job seekers not to go back further than 10 to 15 years of work history. But are there exceptions to that “rule”? Absolutely. When is it OK to go back further than 10 to 15 years of career history on your resume?
When you have relevant experience, but it isn’t recent.
We work with job seekers who have experience in the industry they want to get back into, but it was longer than 10 years ago. This is where a chronological/functional combo format for your resume will come in handy. You can tout your relevant experience without dating yourself.
When you’ve had only one job during that entire time span.
Usually what I advise clients in this situation is to break down your career progression. So even though you’ve had only one employer, you’re showing forward movement during the span of your career. However, it may be helpful to list the position previous to the one you currently hold to show depth and variety of experience. I’m not quite sure when having only one employer became somewhat of a negative in a job search, but it sure is looking that way lately. That is a whole other article, though.
When you’re applying for a position and a CV is required.
CVs are more historical-based career documents, where a resume is more of a self-marketing document. In your CV, chances are you’ll go back further than 10 to 15 years. This can also include medical and academic positions (and for my international audience, 90% of the time this will include you). Hiring standards vary from country to country, but the accepted form in most places other than the U.S. and Canada is a CV.
When possible, limit your work experience to the last 10 to 15 years. Chances are it’s going to be the most relevant to the position anyway. Only go back further if you don’t have the necessary experience or it’s required in the case of a historical CV where they want an account of your entire work history.
Stuck in a challenging job search situation and wondering how to tackle it? Consider working with one of my expert resume writers. The certified resume writers on my staff have experience working with job seekers in many different situations, and they can effectively and successfully tackle this resume/job search obstacle—and many others. Find out more on our website at http://www.greatresumesfast.com or feel free to e-mail me or call me at 1.800.991.5187 with any questions about our resume writing service.
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About the author
Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast
Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.
What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.
You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!
I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!
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