Crafting a résumé can be a daunting task. Most professionals have held numerous positions over the course of their careers. Sifting through all the experience and creating an exhaustive list can be, well, exhausting. We have some good news for you: you don’t have to. Not only is it not necessary to list every position you’ve ever held, it’s not advisable. Including all of your work experience could hinder, rather than help, your chances of securing the job. So, what should you list on your résumé? We have three principles to guide you.
The rule of thumb. Standard practice is to include 10–15 years of relevant experience on your résumé. Hiring managers are sifting through mountains of information in applications. Your résumé should be tailored and targeted.
The rationale. Your goal should be to include relevant experience for the specific position you are applying for. You are not writing a personal encyclopedia. You are crafting a case for why you are a good fit for this job. Take your cues from the job listing as you revise your résumé.
The exceptions. The key criteria for inclusion is relevant experience. If you have changed industries, you should only include the pertinent positions. Listing skills, certifications, and volunteer experience can fill out the picture if you’re breaking into a new field.
Bear in mind that summary statements are opportunities to give an overview of your career in broad strokes that puts each position in context. Take advantage of this space to set a tone for what follows.