What makes the backbone of a resume?

Your work experience section occupies the maximum space in your resume and makes up the backbone of it. A recruiter hardly pays more than 7 seconds on your resume. Your work experience should be strong enough to convince the recruiter that you are worth interviewing in these few seconds.

Listing too much work experience might make you proud of your career graph but lower your chances of shortlisting. On the other hand, mentioning too little about your work experience could make your resume seem incompetent.

So how far back is too far back for a resume?

Read on to know how far back a resume should go for professionals and some related FAQs.

How Far Back Should a Resume Go?

Should you put your entire work history on your resume?
Not at all!

Never commit this crime of putting your entire work history on your resume. You might have worked in top companies for some profile, but if that experience is irrelevant to the job you are applying for, it will not do you any good.

Your resume has the freedom to go back to 10-15 years, but remember that these years of experience must be relevant to the job you are applying for.

Going beyond 15 years would mean that you are listing the entry-level experience, which might not reflect completely the skills you have honed relevant to the desired job.

Every inch of space on your resume counts; even if you fill it with a lot of information, recruiters would only want to read the relevant ones.

How to Determine How Far Back Should a Resume Go?

You can decide how many previous jobs should be listed on a resume by following the points mentioned below:

Understand the Requirements

You must first understand the requirements to excel in the job you are applying for. You should thoroughly understand what you will be required to do in your new role and what skills you should possess.

Understanding the requirements will help you to narrow down your work experience, and you will have an answer to how far back should your resume go for that particular job.

Check the Job Level

The job level is generally mentioned in the job description, but if it is not, you can ask the recruiter to get some clarification.

If you are applying for a senior role, you can provide up to 15 years of relevant experience, and if the position is mid-level, 10 years of experience should suffice. For entry-level, stick to showing up to 2 years of relevant experience.

Include Important Experience

Take some time out to think through which experience would be valued by the organization. The experience that the company is seeking will help you determine how far back should job history go on a resume.

Mention your recent experience and accomplishments as the hiring managers will look for them in your resume rather than what you worked as 20 years ago for a senior profile.

Read the Job Description

A job description can give you a good idea of how far back should your employment history go on a resume. Every company overtly mentions the requirements and skills that they are looking for in their candidate.

Read the job description carefully and match the skills with what you have mastered. If the skills match a job you did a few years ago, feel free to elaborate upon that.

Also Read: Why is reading a job description important in 2022?

How Far Back Should a Resume Go for Entry-level Professionals

For an entry-level position, you should mention all the voluntary work, internships, and freelancing you have done. Match the skills with the company's requirements and add them to your resume to stand out.

As a recent graduate, you can emphasize how you used soft skills like problem-solving, time management, and leadership in a relevant job or any project.

Also Read: How to draft an impressive entry-level resume to catch recruiter’s attention?

How Far Back Should a Resume Go for Mid-level Professionals

Since mid-level professionals have decent years of experience, it is safe to say that you can mention up to 10 years of career history.

For a mid-level role, you can exclude irrelevant experience. Your focus should be on emphasizing the job you pursued most relevant to the company. For example, if you are applying for a sales job, focus on sales-related experience, not the part-time bartending job you did while pursuing your college education.

You can mention other works like freelancing or any short-term project you did, but you don't need to elaborate on them.

How Long Should a Resume Be for a Senior Position?

For the senior position, companies want the best of the best. They look for employees with a lot of professional experience, which means you can go back to 15 years as long as how far back should a resume go for work history on a resume is concerned.

So how many pages should your resume be for a senior-level job role?

Your resume should be, at best, one page and can go to a maximum of one and a half pages. You can emphasize relevant experience but try not to overwhelm the recruiters with your entire career history.

Tips for How Far Back Should a Resume Go?

Given below are some tips that you can use if you are pondering over how far back should a resume go:

  • Mention only relevant information based on the job description. Read it carefully to understand what might interest the recruiters and get clarity on how far back should you go on a resume.
  • To make your resume ATS-friendly, keep only relevant skills. You can exclude dated skills as they will not interest the recruiters.
  • Expand recent relevant experience and limit earlier experiences. Your aim should be to grab the recruiter's attention with your latest achievements and skills.
  • Always quantify your achievements as that will back your skills more with the results you achieved in your professional career.
  • Use reverse chronological order while listing down the experience in which your recent experience will come first, followed by previous experiences in reverse chronology.

Also Read: What are the most popular resume formats in 2022?

Key Takeaways

How far back should a resume go when writing a resume depends on what the company seeks. You can list 10-15 years of previous work experience for most industries.

  • For an entry-level position, you can mention relevant professional experience; if not, you can put information about projects you did in college or internships.
  • For mid-level positions, stick to writing 10 years of your career history and exclude irrelevant jobs that you pursued in earlier days.
  • For a senior-level position, you must mention your relevant experience of 15 years at length since recruiters look for professionals with a lot of relevant work history.
  • Reading the job description can help you find an answer to how far back do you go on a resume for work experience.
  • Pick out skills from the job description, understand the requirements, and draft your resume accordingly.
  • Opt for the reverse chronological format to highlight your most recent experience and avoid putting dated skills.

If you require expert guidance to help you find an answer to how far back should a resume go and other professional guidance, visit Hiration’s Career Activator Platform. It provides live chat support around the clock, and you can also email us at support@hiration.com.

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