How Many Years of Work History to Include on Resume? It Depends


Asked how many years of experience they like to see reflected on resumes, 55.2 percent of employers surveyed for the 2010 Orange County Resume Survey* said it depends on the position (entry level requires less, professional/management require more). A scant 2.3 percent said they want to see 11-20 years’ worth of experience on the resume; almost 26 percent want to see 6-10 years; and 16.4 percent want to see 0-5 years. Obviously, you cannot list more years of experience on your resume than you actually have. The issue arises for mature professionals who fear age discrimination if they list more than 20 or so years of experience. We once advised mature job-seekers to list about 15 years of experience to avoid age discrimination, but that advice is risky in the age of background checks. One approach is to list experience older than 15 years ago, but keep it in a “previous experience” section without including dates.

*The 2010 Orange County Resume Survey by The Center for Career and Life Development, Saddleback College, Mission Viejo, CA, Eric Hilden, Career Placement Officer, was distributed by email to 2,000+ employer contacts in Orange County and shared online employer contacts in Orange County and shared online via social-networking sites including and Twitter.