It is becoming more common for people to change jobs, on average, every 4 to 5 years. So the longer we are out in the working world, the more extensive our work history can be. And this can make the “work experience” section of our resume feel overwhelming.
The best way to calm your nerves is to let the job posting be your guide. Although the general rule of thumb is to include your past 3 positions or to go back 10 to 15 years, the truth is, it depends. Base the information you include on your resume on the position you are applying for.
Lets say for example you are applying for a position as a Finance Manager. If you have spent the entirety of, or most of, your career as a Finance Manager it is safe to say the general rule of thumb would apply. However if you worked as a finance manager 20 years ago but have worked other positions since, you want to ensure your relevant experience, from 20 years ago, is on your resume. It is important to consider how relevant the experience is to convey your ability to do the job. If the experience applies, regardless of when it occurred, you should still put it on your resume.
When deciding how much work history to include on your resume just make sure the employer has enough information to understand how your experience is relevant to the position you are applying for, regardless of when it occurred. In other words, so long as you have effectively communicated to the employer that your experience provides the necessary qualifications for the position it does not matter when it occurred.
Click here for an example of a resume in which the applicant wanted to highlight her retail management experience which had occurred prior to her most recent positions.
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