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Relevancy is key: How far back should your resumé go?

This is a guest post by Andrew Fennell.

Recruiters don’t dedicate much time to each resumé they review, and they certainly won’t be flicking through five pages of information – no matter how skilled you are!
For this reason, it’s best to keep your resume to just two pages long – and even better if you can fit it on one.

But we understand this can be tricky when you’ve got lots of experience to shout about, especially if you’ve been in your industry for 10, 20 or even 30 years.

However, you need to make sure your resumé doesn’t just end up being a long list of previous jobs. Instead, relevancy is key – here’s how far back your resumé should go and how to decide which jobs you should include:

Why you shouldn’t list every job you’ve ever had

Ultimately, when reviewing your application, recruiters are looking for proof that you match their candidate requirements and have the necessary skills and experience to carry out the role.

But not every job you’ve ever had will be relevant to the role you’re currently applying for. It makes far more sense to prioritize your limited resumé space for experience that proves your suitability for your target role.

That’s why you need to be selective and create a previous employment section that will boost your application – here’s how:

1. Combine periods in one company

If you spent fifteen years climbing the ladder in one company, you don’t need to list all the different roles you had during your time there.

Instead, list the most recent role you had and add a brief note about your promotions in the job description.

2. Highlight other jobs earlier in your resume

You can highlight earlier roles more naturally in other sections of your resumé.

For example, in your personal profile, you might wish to include that you started your writing career as a communications assistant and now have over 15 years’ experience as a copywriter.

This gives recruiters some context to your career story and means you don’t need to include your communications assistant role in your employment history.

3. Choose jobs that are relevant

If you’ve got lots of experience, but not all the roles are relevant to your current career path, then you only need to include those that are.

That said, you don’t want to create huge career gaps, as this could raise suspicions.

The traditional format of a resume requires that you list the name of the company, your job title, the years you worked there and your responsibilities for each role.

However, for less relevant or very old roles, you could simply include only the company name, job title and your time in employment – missing out on that bulky list of responsibilities.

This method still gives a full overview of your employment history, without wasting space with irrelevant information.

4. Use LinkedIn to expand on your history

If you’re still struggling for space, you could always include a note to say that the rest of your employment history is available on your LinkedIn profile.

Just be sure that your LinkedIn profile is complete and up-to-date and that you include a short link to your profile, so that recruiters can easily find you.

 

Deciding how far back your resumé should go

Ideally, you want to keep your resume as short and sweet as possible. Recruiters are generally very busy people – so they’ll appreciate a punchy, concise and highly relevant application!

Use the advice above to be selective with your employment history and create a resumé that seamlessly proves your suitability, keeps the recruiter’s attention hooked and gets you hired.

 

About the Guest Post Author:
Andrew Fennell is the writer for Assignyourwriter Uk and the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV – he is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian and FastCompany.