Resume Time Machine: When to Cut Older Work Experience From Your Resume

August 1, 2022


Many job postings require a specific amount of work experience examples. Long resumes can be impressive and a great tool to showcase diverse and impactful careers. However, certain work experience may improve your resume or make it lengthy. Here are some tips for cutting out older work experience.

How far back should work experience go? 

For better or worse, some jobs hold sentimental value, and you may be hesitant to remove them from your work experience on your resume. However, work experience on your resume must pertain to the job you apply for. That does not mean you have to cut out any jobs not directly in the same field as the position you are trying to attain but just think of how they are related. With this in mind, work experience can tell a story. It can show how much you have improved not only as an employee but throughout the stages of your life. Positions such as early customer service jobs may show your potential employer that you have work experience interacting with the public. Furthermore, you may be able to showcase traits you possess, such as loyalty and determination, through past jobs you may have overlooked.

Most employees are not concerned with work older than 10-15 years, but there is not a set number of years of work experience on a resume that needs to account for. In many cases, older jobs may not be relevant to you as a potential employee. For example, say you have entered the engineering industry. Your job as a babysitter in high school and college is likely not necessary on your resume. Furthermore, this could be interfering with more appealing work experience examples you have directly in the industry. For employees who do not have 10-15 years of work experience, showcasing what you have done to advance your career similarly engages employers.

What if I do not have significant experience?

Most job postings today come with the required amount of work experience. This may present a significant setback for those trying to enter the workforce. You may wonder how to find a job when most postings require knowledge. Candidates can rely on education, volunteer experience, references, and other applicable experience to showcase their qualifications. Maybe you have attained a certificate, degree or taken certain classes that portray examples of experience on your resume. In addition, employers will likely be able to get an idea of what kind of worker you are and your sense of morale from experiences outside of work. 

Showcasing work samples

In some industries, going beyond work experience to showcasing specific samples can put you one step ahead of another candidate. Returning to older work experience examples can help your case when applying for a new position. Do not be deterred from including samples from college in your resume. Furthermore, you can incorporate examples as links for online applications and have them directly in your resume to supplement your work experience. 

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