I recently came across a resume that listed a summer cashier position in 1976 as part of a person’s “professional experience.” While it may seem a little strange or ridiculous to include an irrelevant position from nearly 25 years ago, I can tell you that it’s actually not that uncommon to come across something like this. A lot of people think that they literally need to include everything they’ve ever been involved with on their resumes, and I can assure you that not only do you not have to follow suit, you also don’t really need to go back any longer than 10 years.

The main goal of your resume should be to impress the reader with the specific qualifications and experiences that make you fit to be hired for a desired position. That being said, the reader is most interested in what you have done recently, not in what you did over 10 years ago. The bulk of your resume should be devoted to the last few years of your working history – this is what potential employers want to know about.

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably held a number of jobs over time if you include the part-time and casual positions. If wrote a little bit about each one of these, your resume would probably near the 4 page mark on experience alone. Considering it shouldn’t be longer than 2 pages, this is far from ideal.

When it comes to listing your professional experiences, stick to the most recent and relevant positions. There is no need to include everything, and writing about too much will sometimes blur your positions together and detract from your real qualifications. Unless you’ve held the same position for over 10 years, there is really no reason to go back any longer than this, and employers don’t even expect to go back that far on your resume anyway. If you do have quite an extensive work history of relevant positions, focus on the most recent ones and then simply list the earlier positions under a new category for “previous or other employment.”

Just remember that there is such a thing as “too much” on a resume. Focus on what the hiring manager wants to see, not on how much information you can cram onto it.

© RedStarResume Publications

Laura is the Marketing Coordinator for RedStarResume, a business that provides resume and cover letter writing services for students, graduates and young professionals.

http://www.redstarresume.com

Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RedStarResume

Views: 6847

Tags: a, how, internship, interview, job, resume, successful, tips, to, write, More…writing

Comment by Sandra McCartt on June 20, 2010 at 11:53pm
While i agree that part time positions 35 years ago is way too much information, i would take some exception to the Just the last 10 years. We are getting push back from employers that they want to see a full resume of all career experience. They are not interested in detail as much as just dates of employment , name of company and position. The feeling seems to be that resumes without date of college graduation and only the last 10 years is an attempt to hide the candidate's age so they take it as someone who is concerned about their age.

One employer made the comment, "i am not concerned about how old a candidate is but if they are so worried about it that they leave off valuable career experience, they shoot themselves in the foot with me."

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