How Much Career History Typically Goes on a Resume?

Job seekers with detailed career histories are often unsure how to best approach a lengthy career in a  resume. The strategy can vary, and should depend on each individual’s background and targeted position, yet a general rule of thumb is to showcase just the last 10 to 15 years of work experience.

Now, this general rule will not apply if a job seeker is targeting a role that has great relation to a job done further in their past, if they are making a career change and need to draw from earlier career skills, or if they have only held a limited number of positions over a long period of time.

Scenario One: Jane started working as an Office Administrator and handled a lot of internal human resource tasks. Eventually she moved into Legal Assistance and worked there for over 10 years, but now she finds herself targeting a role in Human Resources. Her earlier career history, (which was more than 10 years ago), is very relevant and needs to be highlighted in her resume.

Scenario Two: John has worked for one organization for the past 20 years, in just two main positions. As he seeks a new role his resume will naturally include his most recent positions even though these show a lengthy career history.It can be very challenging to decide which jobs to include and which to remove in a resume; it can also be tricky for job seekers to take an objective approach on their skill sets and know when to ‘let go’ of the unrelated past. If job seekers refuse to target their resume content and believe that all career history must be present, their resume runs the risk of not working.

Typically, in resumes, less is more.WATCH MY VIDEO on YOU TUBE:How much career history typically goes in a resume?

Adrienne Tom

Looking to take your executive resume or job search to the next level to land your next job faster and increase your earning power? I can help! Visit me online at to learn more about my award-winning resume writing, LinkedIn writing, and job search strategies for top professionals and executives located across Canada and the USA.
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