It’s no wonder why even simple questions like “How far back should a resume go?” or “Does a resume have to include all the jobs?” it can be challenging to answer today.

Our world is very different from what it was just 20 years ago, with advances in technology that have rendered many jobs obsolete and people who change companies in almost double the rate.

We’ll go over these questions in detail and give you advice on how to complement your work experience, whether you’re a student, recent graduate, or seasoned professional.

In this article, you will learn:

  • How far back should your resume go?
  • Is your work history long enough as a student or recent graduate?
  • How To Supplement Your Job History Resume With Additional Sections;
  • Why you should follow the 10-15 year rule;
  • When to delete old jobs on a resume;
  • Does a resume have to include all jobs?

How long should your resume go back in 2021?

The common advice is to keep the work experience on a resume between 10 to 15 years. Doing so will give your hiring manager a general outline of where you started, how you grew, and where you are now. However, this rule is not set in stone and the answer may vary depending on a few factors, such as:

  • How long have you been in the workforce;
  • Does your experience align with the purpose of your work?
  • And your grades.

Typically, if a job you’ve had has provided you with valuable experience and skills that align with your job objective, then you want to add it to your resume.

Student or recent graduate work experience (0 – 2 years of experience)

As a student or recent graduate, you probably don’t care how far behind your resume should be.

In fact, you may be concerned otherwise. Do you even have enough years of experience on your resume?

All we have to say is: don’t worry. You are expected to have minimal experience when entering the workforce. In addition, you will realize in a moment that you are more qualified than you think.

It is not necessary to have years of experience on your resume to prove to your employer that you are the right candidate for the position.

You can do this by highlighting your:

  • High school and college achievements
  • Part-time and summer jobs
  • Transferable skills acquired while volunteering, doing internships, running a fundraiser, playing sports, etc.

Just make sure what you write on your resume is relevant to the job at hand and reflects the truth of your character. Like most employers quickly realize when a resume is full of nonsense.

Also, just because you weren’t paid as an intern or volunteer doesn’t mean what you did was not a job. You can still list them as work experience, for example:

Entry-level work experience example

Entry-level work experience (2 to 5 years of experience)

If you’re someone with entry-level work experience, it’s time to downplay the importance of your college experience.

That means, removing your college courses, awards, school projects, and GPAs from your resume.

Instead, your primary focus should be on your graduate experience. Be it your paid work experience, internships or volunteering.

Because you are still new to the workforce, you may find that your work history is missing from your resume.

In this case, in addition to including a practical section, you can complement it with other resume sections, What:

SkillsAdding this section will show your potential employer that you have the skills and abilities that are required for the position.

Strengths: Stand out from the crowd by picking out some quality strengths you have, like being good at communication, adaptable, and trustworthy. Make sure you don’t go overboard with them and include only those that interest you a lot. Quality outweighs quantity.

Projects: Including personal projects that align with your job outlook is a great way to show a hiring manager your dedication and internal motivation to succeed in your career.

Mid-level and experienced professionals (more than 5 years of experience)

If you’ve been to the 5-10 year labor, you haven’t gotten to the point yet where you should be worrying about how long to backtrack on a resume.

However, it is recommended not to write down all the jobs you have had. Instead, list only the jobs related to the opportunity you want.

For those who have worked for more than 10 years, now is the time to start implementing the 10-15 year rule.

By implementing the 10-15 year rule, you ensure that your resume is:

  • Relevant: In a rapidly changing world, jobs that took place long ago may be irrelevant to today’s job market.
  • Sure: You want the hiring manager to have a clear perspective of where you started, how you progressed, and how you got to where you are now.
  • Concise: Limiting your job postings makes it easier to stick to a suitable resume length (1-2 pages).
  • To measure: Adding only the jobs that align with an employer’s job description is a great way to get noticed. Especially since, on average, hiring managers examine hundreds of resumes per job.

In addition, by not going beyond 15 years in your employment history, decrease the likelihood of age discrimination.

However, if you come across previous experience that is still relevant to the job in question. You can always show the skills you gained from that job in your Professional resume.

advice on work history

How many jobs should I include on my resume?

This question depends on the type of career you have. If, for example, you have a government job or work in academia, you may need to provide an extensive and often complete employment history.

However, such cases are not the norm and the general advice is to add between 3 and 7 job offers.

Adding more of that will only serve to distract the recruiter.

Also, as a general rule of thumb, you only need go into details on your last two or three jobs. Then decrease the level of detail as you go back, until eventually your old job listing should be just the dates of employment, your role, and the company name.

When to remove old jobs from a resume?

Ideally, you want to tailor your resume so that the jobs you list in your employment history are no more than 15 years old and relevant to the job you are applying for.

That means if you have a mid-to-experienced position, you rarely need to add that summer job you had in high school.

If you’re still having a hard time deciding which jobs to remove or add to your resume, remember that the same advice you applied when learning how to write a resume applies here. You want your job listing to be relevant, clear, and concise.

Still, it will rarely be necessary for you to write down your entire work history on a resume. It is a marketing document, not a legal one.