Should I show more than 15-20 years job history? Job Search Question Of The Week

Jan 22 2010 in Featured, reCareered Blog, Resumes by Phil Rosenberg

This was a question from a participant in my complimentary Resume Revolution Webinar.

Question: “Should I show more than 15-20 years job history?”
– PF

There’s no rule saying you can’t, but why would you want to? Is the detail of what you did in your work 15+ years ago relevant to your next job? I guess if you are in a job function and industry that hasn’t changed much in the past 15 years, and your next targeted job is exactly what you’ve been doing for the last 15 years, than including that is ok.

But few job seekers look for the same position, the same level, or same job as 15 years ago … and few job functions haven’t changed in 15 years.

Your resume isn’t an autobiography – it shouldn’t be about what’s important to you, but rather, what’s important to your reader, the hiring manager (See: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2008/02/your-resumes-audience-cheers-or-silence.html).

Will your reader really care what you did 15 + years ago? Sure, if you were a dishwasher 15 years ago, and you’re a dishwasher today then your employer might care if they want the world’s most experienced dishwasher.

There is an advantage to showing historical employment, however. It demonstrates continuous employment and a list of past employers.

I usually recommend to my clients that they just include a single line with the employer, title, and date. In a sense, it’s a place marker to demonstrate employment … and that you weren’t in jail during that time period (yes, I’m being serious).

But this isn’t what I typically see from candidates.

Most candidates submit an Egocentric Resume (see: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2008/05/do-you-recognize-these-early-warning.html) jam-packed full of examples of what the employee is most proud of, rather than what the employer cares about.

Do you think your next employer is really interested in the fantastic job you did 20 years ago?

Even if you’re Superman and saved the world from certain destruction 20 years ago, your next employer won’t care because it’s not solving their problems. Plus, if it’s been 20 years since you bailed out the planet, you’re no no longer a SME at saving the earth anymore (Exception: If you’re the only one remaining from that epic battle, and no one else has rescued the planet in the last 20 years, then I guess you’re the only SME – maybe not so likely in your own circumstances, but you get the point, right?)

Therefore, for most circumstances, I recommend listing older full time jobs as a single line.

As your experience becomes less recent it’s also less relevant. I would devote less space positions farther back than the past three and older than 10-15 years.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Want to do more than just complain about a bad economy?

To attend our next complimentary live webinar featuring action items to double your resume response rate and number of interviews, plus live career Q&A with Phil Rosenberg of reCareered, register at http://ResumeWebinar.com .

Available Now On Amazon: Job Search Secrets - Rethink Your Job Search Now, By Phil Rosenberg

Phil shows you why your current job search strategies work against you and how to replace them with strategies that improve your odds. Phil provides you with research - cold, hard statistics provided by job boards and hiring managers themselves, to show you what works for you and against you in the worst job market in our lifetimes.

Download Job Search Secrets on Amazon

Join our mailing list for newsletters, announcements of complimentary upcoming webinars and other job search resources. Sign up at http://reCareered.com/newsletter/

For access to more information:
Connect to Phil Rosenberg on Linkedin: http://linkedin.com/in/philrosenberg
Follow reCareered on Linkedin: http://linkedin.com/company/recareered.com
Like reCareered on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/reCareered
Follow Phil Rosenberg on Google+: http://gplus.to/philrosenberg
Follow reCareered on Twitter: http://twitter.com/philreCareered
Join Career Change Central on Linkedin: http://linkedin.com/e/gis/1800872

Source: http://reCareered.com
Author: Phil Rosenberg

You might also like

Job Search Answers: I Know Someone At The Company, What Should I Do? At the end of my Resume Revolution complimentary webinars (enroll at http://ResumeWebinar.com), I...
Job Search Question Of The Week: Am I Old Enough For Ageism? At the end of my Resume Revolution complimentary webinars (enroll at http://ResumeWebinar.com), I...
Job Search Question Of The Week: How Should I Include Volunteer Positions On My Resume? At the end of my Resume Revolution complimentary webinars (enroll at http://ResumeWebinar.com), I...
Should I Use A Functional Resume? Job Search Question Of The Week During the Q & A part of my Resume Revolution Webinar, a participant asked if I recommended using...