One of the most nerve-racking and anxiety-inducing parts of a job is the interview, just below that in terms of upsetting is preparing a resume.
Many of us have some variation of the same resume that our parents, teachers, or a kindly older person helped us prepare when we were applying for our first string of jobs.
The problem with this is the life of a working person is a long one.
One that often includes a variety of jobs.
For the lucky few who landed in good jobs young or have pursued a career in one field for a long time, they have only ever known one kind of job and their resume reflects both their experience and expertise in that field.
But for the rest of us, a resume looks more like a grouping of various jobs and positions on a jobs board rather than a peek into someone’s actual experience.
As such, it is important to know how to format your jobs, but also which jobs to put on your resume.
So, how far back should a resume go?
Should I include everything?
Or only the last few years?
In this article, we seek to give you clarity on what to put in your resume.
Table Of Contents
What Is A Resume?
A resume is a summary of your employment history and skills you used in said employment.
It is a formal document that is presented to your prospective employer and will decide whether you advance to the interview stage with your potential employer, as well as give you an opportunity to describe your skills and qualifications to said employers.
It is often referred to as a CV (curriculum vitae), which literally means ‘course of life’ in Latin.
Something important to note is that a resume is different from a resume summary or cover letter, because a resume is a summary of your entire employment history, whereas the resume summary only summarizes your education and work experience.
A resume will probably be presented by you to most jobs you apply for, whereas a resume summary will normally be tailored to certain jobs and presented with your resume.
For example, if you were applying for an engineering job, your resume would have all your experience, whereas your resume summary would detail why you are fit for this engineering job and give relevant experience and skills of yours that would apply to this new job as well.
Why Are Resumes Important?
Many people think that a resume is not as important as a cover letter or a work history.
A resume is an important part of any job application because it is the first impression you will make on your potential employer.
A recruiter or hiring manager will often spend an average of just 10 seconds scanning your resume, so it needs to be punchy, concise, and have all the necessary information to make it count.
This first impression will determine whether or not an employer even reads the rest of your application.
So, in addition to being a summary of your experience and qualifications, your resume will also have to stand out from the crowd.
Employers will be looking all day at resumes, and anything that makes them turn away from yours for even a moment may lose you the job.
So, it is extremely important that you write a good resume.
How Far Back Should A Resume Go?
Like any decision you have to make as an individual, this will vary based on your age, experience, and the industries you’re applying to.
For example, if you’re applying for a job as a financial analyst, you will want to focus on your work history and qualifications from the past 5 years.
But if you’re applying for a position in social services, you might want to think about focusing on the past 10 years of your work history.
The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to write a resume that goes back many years.
If you’ve only been working for the past 5 years, then you only have to focus on the past years of your work history.
The reason for this is normally due to the amount of sophistication in certain jobs.
Longer experience shows that a person has maintained good standards in their previous positions and has managed any stress or problems that arose in those jobs easily.
This is doubly true for particularly sensitive jobs.
Social services deals with a lot of sensitive situations, and they need to know that the person they are hiring can handle it, hence a long period of work experience is necessary.
How Should I Format My Resume?
There are many resume formats to choose from, as we’ve mentioned before, however, there are a few things that you will want to keep in mind when formatting your resume.
First of all, when you’re choosing a resume format, you want to choose a format that best reflects your experience.
For example, if you’ve been working for a large company for the past 5 years, you might want to choose a curriculum vitae format.
But if you’ve worked in a more entrepreneurial type job, you might want to choose a traditional chronological format.
The key is to choose a format that best reflects your experience and expertise.
It may also benefit you to keep everything short.
Instead of talking about why your SEO expertise would be good, just mention that you have SEO expertise.
The resume is just the insight, and the cover letter or resume summary is the detail.
Resumes are some of the hardest and more irritating things to write.
Unless you love yourself and the jobs you’ve done more than life itself, then you are going to struggle to write it.
But it is important, and it is important that you do it right.
This will be the first impression that you are judged on by employers. So, take an evening, write it out, and proofread it thoroughly.
Once you are satisfied, then you can start handing it out in hopes of a new career.