Relevant Resumes: How far back is too far?
Relevant Resumes: How far back is too far?
December 24, 2020

Relevant Resumes: How far back is too far?


Did you know that a recruiter receives an average of 250 resumes per job posting?

And, while they may be filtered down automatically thanks to resume sorting software, a recruiter will still read through dozens of resumes to narrow down the rest by hand.

So, while you might have a storied career that can only be properly divulged through an encyclopedia-sized manifesto, the typical recruiter simply doesn’t have time to read your novel.

And if they don’t have time for your resume, they surely won’t have time to meet with you for an interview.

But if you have a lot of work experience, then you’re probably asking yourself how to temper that down to just one, maybe two pages, to help prevent your recruiter from getting eye-strain, and putting an unnecessary strain on your job search. That’s why we’ve assembled 4 great guidelines to help you cut down so you can move on up!

1. Combine positions by company

If you had an extended stay with one employer, chances are you tried your hand at several positions, and might be tempted to break down each different “job” you held into a separate section of your resume — but don’t give in to the temptation!

Talk about the top of the corporate ladder that you reached, and leave out the individual rungs. List your job title as the most recent position you held, and then in the job description you can list any impressive features about your promotional history.

Youngest partner? Move from the mailroom to the boardroom? Amazing! Let them know, but don’t waste precious resume space on anything except your accolades, accomplishments, and the skills you built.

2. Highlight unlisted jobs in your career story

If you have to let go of some noteworthy jobs for the sake of space, then mention them more casually earlier on in your resume.

Maybe you started as a truck driver and now you manage a fleet as a logistics expert. Instead of just cutting out the grassroots position, use it to scale your accomplishments in your foreword.

“I began driving trucks for 3 years, then applied myself to become a logistics manager, a position I’ve held with great success for the last decade.”

Look at that, you still mentioned your old job, but now it sets the stage for your career. Plus, it helps tell a story, and that’s another thing that really draws recruiters in. 

3. Curate Your Content To The Job Requirements

While your years running away to work for the circus might help you land a job with Cirque du Soleil, they might not exactly look like a good fit for that stable accounting job you’re gunning for…

When you have had many jobs and different types of work to choose from, while it seems like a curse trying to fit in everything you feel defines you, the amount of options can be a blessing! It gives you the ability to curate the selection that makes it onto your resume to match what the employer is looking for.

Look at how they describe the job in the original posting, and see which of your jobs that sounds like. Be creative, and show how you already built the skill sets they need from a new employee.

Be careful, however, not to create suspicious gaps in employment by filtering out irrelevant positions. Showing consistency in your career can be just as important as relevancy. One way to include less relevant, but long-worked jobs, is to only list company, job title, and time period. Save the descriptions for the jobs you need to highlight!

4. Leverage LinkedIn

So you have a lot to say, but not enough space to see it all in your resume?

Leverage the fact that recruiters are searching candidates online before making decisions. The socially acceptable stalking of potential recruits on social media has quickly become the norm, but you can use it to your advantage!

LinkedIn allows you to add information about your entire career, with links to those company pages and the ability to add other personal details like a bio, portfolio links, and even posts and content to show what you’re active in right now!


Life is full of so many things, and it’s hard to compact them all into a space as small as a single page resume. You are so many things, and your recruiter should know how amazing you are! But in order to give them the chance to get to know you, take these 4 techniques to heart, in order to start off on the right foot with a really relevant resume.