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How far back should you go in your resume?

We like to hang onto things that bring back memories, even on our resumes. But there is a point that you need to really think through the value. Are you hanging onto old jobs that mean something to you but really only date you? Are you afraid that those things in the past need to be there to support the roles that you are looking to land?

While everything you have done in your career can set the stage for your success in future jobs, a resume is a marketing tool designed to showcase your best contributions and accomplishments. The question you need to ask yourself is: “Does everything on my resume show my value?”

What is a resume accomplishment?

While many people hear the word accomplishment and think award or honor, this is not the way a recruiter or hiring manager will perceive an accomplishment. When we talk about your value, we are talking about your value in terms of the next employer. You may see something as very valuable and you may relish an award or certificate but what I want to know as a professional resume writer is what will that award mean to the next employer. How do we position the work that you did to win the award?

Now as you look back at your resume, what talking points have your past positions generated? Can we just highlight the accomplishment in the showcase section of the resume up front and eliminate a laundry list of old positions?

If you are hanging onto an old position because you are transitioning into a new field and you think your more recent roles didn’t show your expertise in that area, think more about the impact you can have with everything in the resume fine-tuned to speak to what you bring to this position.

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