On Resume, How Far Back to Go in Job History?


Hiring decision-makers are split on the issue of far back in your job history you should go on your resume, which is affected by the growing practice of conducting background checks. While job-seekers are concerned about being exposed to age discrimination, many hiring decision-makers, especially recruiters, are adamant about seeing every job listed from your college graduation to the present. They argue that background checks — or even just seeing you in person at an interview — will reveal your age anyway, so why hide it? Others recommend going back 15-20 years, with the idea that jobs beyond that point are likely not relevant to your next career move. If you have the opportunity to contact the decision-maker before sending your resume, you can always ask his or her preference. Another option is to include your jobs that are more than 15 years old, but list them in bare-bones fashion (title, employer, location) with or without dates of employment. You may want to title this section Previous Professional Experience. Even if you opt to leave off the dates, the recipient will at least know that you have provided full disclosure by listing all jobs. A similar option is to insert a disclaimer statement to the effect that “additional employment history is available upon request.” See also our article, Resume, Cover Letter, and Interview Strategies for Older Workers.