Resumes

How to Write Years of Experience on a Resume

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When considering how many years of experience to write on a resume, take a look at the job posting you’re applying to. The number of years you show for work experience can be a crucial indicator to the hiring manager. This article explains how you can include years of experience on your resume to accurately highlight your work history.

How many years of experience should be on a resume?

As a general rule, try to keep your work timeline as solid as possible and without any major gaps or holes. While companies may be interested in your work five years ago, they may not be as interested in unrelated work 25 years ago. You can make your resume more appealing by cutting less relevant experience from your work history and saving it to discuss during the in-person interview.  

How to write years of experience on a resume

Follow these steps to properly include years of work experience on your resume:

1. First, include only the essentials

When in doubt, try to keep your resume as straightforward as possible. One of the biggest problems with having 20 to 30 years of experience on a resume is that it can create a cluttered look and feel. Try to keep your resume free of this type of clutter so that a hiring manager can make their decision as easy as possible. An interesting resume that captures the attention of the reader is a resume that employers are more likely to fully read. This, in turn, makes it more likely that you get called in for an interview.

2. Second, keep the length to no longer than two pages

The ideal length for a resume is one to two pages long, which may mean you have to do some trimming to optimize your space. If you feel like you are running out of room on your application, you can try using a smaller font or removing less relevant jobs from your resume.

To minimize the space that you’re using for your resume, you can also try writing the title and dates for the positions you have worked in the past, without including multiple bullet point details about the job. You can also condense your resume by abbreviating the months for the dates of employment for each position or even listing the dates of employment on the same line as the job title separated by commas. 

3. Third, check the job posting for the required years of work experience

Consider a job posting that requires 20 years of job-related experience. In a scenario like that, you can still apply with 15 years of work-related experience. Ultimately, the reason that companies might list a requirement for someone with that many years of experience is to indicate that they’re looking to hire someone for a senior position. It’s not actually about a specific number of years.  

4. Next, keep some information for the in-person interview

If you are a more seasoned applicant who might have experience stretching beyond 10 to 15 years, you don’t necessarily need to add that older work experience to your resume. Some industries view it as irrelevant for you to share information about job experience that dates back farther than 15 years. 

You should be careful how much information you share directly on your resume so that it doesn’t seem like your skills might be outdated or that you’d be a risk to hire. This information can be kept until an in-person interview when you can mention it as a bonus to your interviewer.

5. Finally, create an impact with relevance

One of the most important keys to having an impactful resume is to include the most relevant information to the position. While it might be tempting to add everything to your resume, quality carries more impact than quantity, and taking the time to edit your previous work experience can be what ultimately helps you get hired for the position. Try to take the extra time to cut and refine the information you do put on your resume to make sure it’s presented as efficiently as possible. The effort is well worth the time, as your resume is often the first impression you give to a hiring manager.

Should you include all work experience on a resume?

The goal of your resume is to provide insight into why you’re the best fit for the role that you are applying for. This means that if you’ve held positions that are not relevant to the role, you might not want to highlight them in the same way as others. Whether you omit jobs entirely or condense them into title and dates (without the details), be sure to organize the information on your resume so each section is clearly defined.

Is it OK to leave jobs off your resume?

When you’re considering information about relevant jobs, a good rule to follow is to list your experience without gaps in employment. For example, if you want to include a position that you held 10 years ago, then you should include job information leading up to the present. The purpose of keeping this consistency is so that a hiring manager can see that you’ve been employed consistently for the time leading up to your application. 

If you are trying to consolidate information, you can trim the jobs that are the farthest back in your work history. Showing a solid list of jobs can help indicate that you are a reliable team member. Your work history can be a hidden trait when hiring managers are looking for a candidate who remains loyal to a company over time.