How Many Years of Experience to List on a Resume

Professional reviewing resume in meeting
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Do you have to include every job you've ever had on your resume? Absolutely not. When you have extensive experience, you don't need to list your entire work history on your resume. 

How Many Years of Experience Should You Put on Your Resume? 

It's acceptable to include 10 - 15 years of experience. In many industries, sharing experience that dates back more than 15 years just isn't very helpful for hiring managers.

It doesn't support your candidacy to share experience with tools and technology that are no longer in use. 

Plus, when you have many years of experience, listing it all can flag you as an older job seeker to employers. 

If you are uncertain how many years of experience to include on your resume, let the job posting be your guide. If a job requires 20 years of experience, then you'll want to include more than 10 - 15 years of work history on your resume. As well, include positions from earlier in your career that are relevant to the role you are applying for. 

Formatting Tips, and How to Include Older Experience 

Listing 20 or 30 years of experience can clutter up your resume and make it much too long. Unless you are a senior executive, the ideal resume length is one to two pages. The key to a winning resume is providing relevant details on your work history - not every detail. 

When you leave off employment information you need to be consistent and still provide a timeline of your work history to employers.

Leave off your oldest jobs when editing your resume, not random positions. If you worked in a relevant position 17 years ago, then you will need to include all the jobs you've held for the past 17 years (skipping over years 10 - 16 could make it look like you were unemployed during that period). 

If you worked at prestigious companies 15+ years ago, or want to have a full history on your resume, you can list out job title, company name, and the year you worked there, and not include details on responsibilities.

This will get the information on the page without taking up too much space. 

How to List Dates on Resume

Your specific dates of employment (month/year) don't need to be included on a resume. Just the years you worked at each position can be included:

Editorial Assistant2013 - 2016
ABC Communications, New York, New York

In fact, if you were a frequent job hopper, only including the year, and leaving off the month, can sometimes be a helpful way to downplay short stints at jobs. 

College Graduation Date on Resume

There is no need to include your college graduation date unless you're a recent college graduate. Here's an example of college listed on a resume without dates:

Bachelor of Arts in English
University of New York

Here's an example of a college graduation date listed on a resume:

Bachelor of Arts in English, 2015
University of New York

Many people choose to drop their graduation date from their resume when the degree was earned 10 years prior. If you are worried about age discrimination, leaving off this information is a good way to shield your age.

 

Additional Dates on Resume

If you've taken professional development courses or other educational classes, it's not necessary to list dates. If you have certifications, you should list the dates because employers will want to know that your accreditations are current.

When leaving experience and dates off a resume, do it strategically.

A resume, for example, with only a few jobs when you're an experienced candidate or a resume with no dates at all can be a red flag for hiring managers. Be sure your resume provides a clear synopsis of your work history to employers.

If the positions you held earlier in your career are relevant to your current objectives, consider shortening the descriptions of your jobs to reduce the length of your resume rather than deleting the positions from your resume.

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