Download PDF

Do I need to include my entire work history?

by Karen Watson on May 29, 2014

View Count: 1054

A resume can be defined as the primary as well as one of the most important factors that is responsible for leading a job applicant to the interview stage. It is generally seen as a promotional brochure which provides insight into your education, experience, accomplishments, and skills. Since resumes need to convey the message that you are the perfect ‘fit’ for the position, you need to be extremely careful about the content you include while crafting it. You may just have an attractively presented resume, the language may be very polished and professional, and no disastrous grammatical and spelling errors, but if the content is not proper, it would be of no good.

There are several categories in a resume such as the profile or the summary of qualification section; the education section; work experience; additional skills and training section; and so on. Out of these, the work history section is by far, what most hiring managers will be interested in. While working on this section, you need to be very cautious with what you include and how to include it. But before anything, try and answer the following questions – it would help you get your content right!

What is the focus of your job search?

Firstly, you need to be very clear about where you are going with your job search. For instance, if you wish to search for a job in the field of IP law, you need to mention every responsibility and accomplishment within all your previous positions that is related to IP law. If you are a recent graduate and do not have IP experience, but you have a Science background and a work history in the field of technology, then you need to highlight this fact. Basically, what you should be doing is juggling with the information you already have and making sure that you highlight the area of focus in a prominent manner.

What is the relevance of the content of your experience?

You may have a wealth of experience and you may have had a string of accomplishments, but if all of it is of no relevance to your current job search, then it’s of no good. You need to understand the fact that no matter what you have done in the past or what are the skills you have gained, it must by all reasons be relevant to your current job search. For that, you need to keep in mind the following points:

  • Do not include too much matter: Including loads of information only dilutes the main focus of your search. Keep the matter precise and concise. Anything that can be done without, should be done without. Include the most important of your duties and accomplishments. If incase your past work history has nothing to do with your present job search, you could also just include the names of companies you worked in along with your position and your tenure. Remember dates are very important and should not be excluded.
  • Do not include information that is dated years back: Sometimes it might just be the case that the applicant is extensively experienced and his or her experience dates back to for instance twenty to twenty five years. In this case, it must be remembered that very old experience can be easily done without and only the recent experience included. If these have been accomplishments from the far past which you feel should be included, then they can be placed in a separate section – ‘Key Accomplishments’ or ‘Career Highlights’. This way your work history is focused, has the most important information, and can be scanned through within a few seconds.
  • Do not include information that is not related to your current search area: Experience of any kind that holds relevance should be highlighted and more details should be given for them. The rest should be downplayed. This will indicate your interest in the area you wish to work in. Even if there is some area which is not related to the current search, but it speaks of transferable skills that can be applied here, then that information also becomes relevant. You need to understand what is and what is not important. Accordingly, you need to highlight or downplay information.

Since a resume serves as a guide to prospective employers to follow your progression in your career, the information must be both accurate and appealing. You should never falsify information but instead utilize a method whereby you emphasize the relevant aspects and de-emphasize the irrelevant aspects of your work history. Eliminate superfluous details, use powerful words, and make the most of your experience. It is in your hands to be either selected or rejected for the interview – go ahead and get the job of your dreams!

Do I need to include my entire work history? by

Previous post:

Next post: