How Old Is too Old for an Employment Listing on a Resume?

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If you have years of work experience under your belt and you are applying for a new position, you may wonder how to fit all of your jobs over the last 20 years into a two page resume. The answer is that you do not have to. It is generally best to leave off positions that are 10 or 15 years old.

Current

  • Employers want to know what you have been doing recently and whether your skills sets, education and training reflect the current needs of the industry and market. If you have recently had a job that demonstrates updated skills and on-the-job accomplishments that are concurrent with a job advertisement's requirements, leave off the job you had out of high school selling doughnuts from your resume. It is much less likely to be relevant to the needs of your current employer. You will then have more room to add details about your accomplishments from your most recent job, which is more likely to impress the employer. You can also add information about recent training you have attended to demonstrate you are up on current technology and trends in your industry.

Relevant

  • You may have held a job in your past that is very relevant to the job for which you are applying. You might include it on your resume if you are trying to re-enter the field of one of your first jobs. You may also want to add it to your resume if you developed skills at that job that relate specifically with the new job you want. In these types of cases, adding in a job from 18 years ago would be relevant.

Too Old

  • Showing your job experience from only the past 10 or 15 years can also help to "de-age" you on your resume. Job seekers who want to appear younger on their resumes can take advantage of this resume-writing strategy to be more competitive in the job market. Do not be tempted to not list dates at all on your resume, however. Your resume should describe your experience and when you worked where accurately.

Another Option

  • You might also include only the last five jobs you have held on your resume. Fill in information for each one that describes your accomplishments and the skills used at each job. You thus focus your resume on positions you have recently held, emphasize your expertise by listing your accomplishments and de-clutter your resume with every position you have ever had.

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