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How much experience do I list on my resume?

by Roger Williford
(Houston, TX)

I have 40 years experience, and have been told to list only the most recent 10-15 years so as not to "age" myself. I've also been told it makes no difference since when I go for an interview they will see I'm not in my 30s.

This time period lists more employers and short-time positions than my earlier experience since I have been doing contract work and working at companies that were sold a year or two after I went to work for them.

I don't want to be seen as a job-hopper. Previous to this period I was at one employer 15 years, another 10 years. Is there any proof that listing only the 10-15 years creates more interviews than listing my total experience?

If I do list only the most recent, do I have a statement on the resume and/or cover letter saying that additional experience will be provided if requested?

Comments for How much experience do I list on my resume?

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May 19, 2009
Six of One... Half a Dozen of Another
by: Kathi

The truth is, Roger, you will probably get a different answer from everyone you ask about this. Here's what I think... if an employer wants to discriminate on the basis of age, they'll find a way to do it. Sure, you might get the interview if you disguise your age on your resume, but as you say once they see you, all bets will be off. And would you really want to work for that type of employer?

So, from that viewpoint, including all your relevant experience makes sense. After all, you want to show who you are and what you've accomplished and can do.

On the other hand, a resume that spans 40 years could be awfully long. And that could eliminate you from the job hunt just as fast as your age. Employers don't have time to read resumes that look like a book.

I think you might do better with either a functional resume that emphasizes skills over lengthy work history listings or a combination resume format that does show the jobs but in an abbreviated format.

I hear your concern about appearing to be a "job hopper." But I think both that and your older work history can simply be explained in your cover letter.

Good luck to you,

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