How Many Years of Experience to List on Your Resume

A Professional Reviews a Resume During an Interview

Steve Debenport / Getty Images 

Do you have to include every job you've ever had on your resume? Not necessarily. When you have extensive experience, you don't need to list your entire work history.

Your resume is a synopsis of your qualifications and experience that shows what you have accomplished that is relevant to the job. You don't need to include everything you've ever done on your resume, especially if you've been in the workforce for many years or have shifted careers.

In fact, you may want to have several versions of your resume. One with all your experience so you can keep track of it, a targeted resume that you can customize for each job you apply to, and a shorter version for career networking and job fairs.

How Many Years of Experience Should You Include? 

How should you decide what to include? 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, for example, you'll want to include more than 10 - 15 years of work history.

Include positions from earlier in your career that are relevant to the role you are applying for. 

It's acceptable to include 10 - 15 years of experience on your resume. 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 an 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. 

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, 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 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. 

Or you can list the positions as additional experience below your current work history (see below to see it on the example resume):

~ Additional experience includes roles as an Executive Assistant for Techno Corporation (Houston, Texas) and as Administrative Assistant for XZY Medical Group (Abilene, Texas). ~

How to List Dates on Resume

Option 1: Month/Year

The dates you worked at each position should be listed next to the job title on your resume:

Front Desk & Guest Services OperatorSeptember 2019 - Present

  • Maintain upscale environment for all hotel guests and conference patrons

Customer Service Representative, April 2019 - August 2019

  • Performed administrative and customer service work in multiple departments including operations, sales and customer call center.

Option 2: Year

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 Assistant, 2017 - 2020
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, 2020
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. 

Including Additional Dates on Your 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.

Resume Example and Template

This is an example of a resume with earlier jobs listed as additional experience. Download the resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see the text version below.

Screenshot of a sample resume
©TheBalance 2018

Sample Resume (Text Version)

Annabel Elder
123 Shady Rest Lane
Tampa, FL 33605
(123) 456-7890
aelder@email.com
www.linked.com/in/annabelelder

EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
Providing confidential and diversified administrative support to C-level executives
Highly organized and personable Executive Assistant well-versed in meeting and event coordination, calendaring and appointment scheduling, reception, correspondence drafting, and travel planning.

Creative and skilled in using Microsoft Office Suite and Adobe Creative Cloud to develop dynamic corporate communications materials, newsletters, and presentations.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

ABC ENTERPRISES, Tampa, Florida
EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT (February 2018 – Present)
Meticulously perform executive administrative functions for C-level officers of global development group. Schedule and supervise team of five administrative assistants and receptionists; make all arrangements for travel, public and stakeholder relations functions, conferences, and meetings. Notable accomplishments:

  • Spearheaded office’s transition to cloud-based corporate communications technologies.
  • Successfully negotiated cost-effective contracts with vendors, caterers, resorts, and other service providers that reduced annual costs by more than $25K.

OCEANSIDE INVESTMENTS, Tampa, Florida
EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT (November 2014 – January 2017)
Provided comprehensive administrative support to CEO of established real estate investment firm. Scope of responsibility included meeting and appointment scheduling, minutes compilation, travel arrangements, and correspondence administration. Notable Accomplishments:

  • Orchestrated all details for major stockholder events including annual meetings, golf tournaments, and receptions.
  • Set up and administered CEO’s social media presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

~ Additional experience includes roles as an Executive Assistant for Techno Corporation (Houston, Texas) and as Administrative Assistant for XZY Medical Group (Abilene, Texas). ~

EDUCATION & CREDENTIALS

HOUSTON COMMUNITY COLLEGE, Houston, TX AAS in General Office Administration

Information Technology Skills: Microsoft Office Suite • Adobe Creative Cloud • QuickBooks

Article Sources

  1. CareerOneStop. "The Basic Elements." Accessed Aug. 19, 2020.