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How far back should a resume go?

My job history dates back to 1997, but is it really necessary to go that far back? My first job was a t Burger King and is totally irrelevant to anything I do hence forth. I started my second job 1999; is ten years of work history enough? I'm having a hard time fitting everything on one page. Because I'm old.

I'm old now.

Answer Question

Asked by jellyphish at 10:53 PM on Jun. 16, 2009 in Money & Work

Level 2 (6 Credits)
Answers (4)
  • I think that 10 years should be plenty. When I applied for my current position (teaching) I certainly didn't put McDonald's on my resume, even though I had become a manager before I quit. It didn't apply to the position I was seeking, so I left it off. But you have to be careful about large gaps of unemployment.

    Answer by christaberk at 10:55 PM on Jun. 16, 2009

  • Tailor your resume to the job you are applying. For instance, when I applied to work in a law firm, i certainly did not include the fact I was a sales associate at TJ Maxx or that I was a waitress at a diner. Instead, I put my experience doing research, working on independent projects, my academic credentials, etc.

    If I were looking for a job as a nanny, I'd put anything related to childcare experience, including education, training, and any other position.


    Answer by Busimommi at 11:58 PM on Jun. 16, 2009

  • Ten years is the rule of thumb. You will probably have more than one version of your resume, tailored to different types of positions. Your resume should be interesting; not a laundry list of tasks, but a narrative of what you accomplished and how you contributed.
    At least as important as a resume are your cover letters. This is where you tell the employer how you fit in; what you bring to make their business a better place.
    I do career & job search coaching. I am always happy to help cafemoms with resumes, cover letters, job search strategy & interview preparation. Feel free to contact me directly –Robin

    Answer by rkoloms at 6:35 AM on Jun. 17, 2009

  • As a former HR Manager, I was always taught to look for/include the THREE most recent positions you've held--one being your current employer. If you've been with your most recent employer 10+ years, then a future employer is going to want to know what you did prior (unless it was your first real job!)

    In my case, since I've been a SAHM for the past 8 years, even listing the 3 jobs I had prior to leaving the workforce, is kind of "outdated" since technology has changed so much, and as far as references go, the people I worked with are highly unlikely to still be working there!

    Listing your employment history is more for determining your work patterns and employment gaps--do you tend to stay at a job, and move up, or do you bounce around every few months in an erratic way? THAT is more critical to a potential employer than WHERE you worked or what you did!

    And I completely agree with rkoloms said...well stated! :o)

    Answer by LoriKeet at 8:46 AM on Jun. 17, 2009

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