You’re launching a job search, so it’s time to write or update your resume. When it comes to that all-important work section, how far back should you go in listing previous jobs and professional experience?

There’s no cookie-cutter formula, and the decision needs to be made on a case-by-case basis. But there are some accepted guidelines you can follow to help ensure your resume stands out from the pack when reviewed by a recruiter or applicant tracking system.

The 10 to 15 Year Rule

Consider your industry, experience level, and qualifications, and make your resume a high-level summary of your relevant professional accomplishments to show that you’re the best person for the job.

For Recent Grads and Entry-Level Pros

If you only have up to two years of professional experience, you can also include relevant academic, volunteer, work, and personal achievements on your resume. (These, along with your entry-level jobs, will likely drop off over the years, but for now, they can be an asset.)

Two to Five Years’ Experience

You can probably eliminate much of your college experience at this stage of your career and use valuable resume space for job-related highlights. You can also demonstrate your professional prowess outside of work, for instance, involvement in professional organizations.

For More Experienced Pros

After about the five-year mark, start to focus your resume solely on roles and responsibilities that have clearly enhanced your qualifications for your desired career move. This may mean downplaying or omitting early positions to elevate more relevant experience as your main focus.

Returning to the Job Market?

If you’ve taken a break from your career to raise a family or for another reason, you likely will have to go back a little further to round out your resume. If so, explain upfront why this is the case. You can do this in your cover letter or resume summary at the top of the page.

The right job is closer than you think. At PrideStaff Fresno, our best-in-class approach has helped thousands of candidates find it. From resume prep to networking, interviewing, and sealing the deal on your next career opportunity, contact us today. We look forward to sharing in your success!

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