Your resume is not a history book

Your resume is not a history bookYour resume is not a history book! When job seekers are in their 50s and 60s, it isn’t uncommon to think their resume should include every job. They want to put every job in chronological order complete with dates. But your resume isn’t a history book.

Your resume is not a history book!

Recognize that your resume MUST be a strategic marketing document. Written well, your resume highlights your value, clearly defines your success stories, and positions you with the keywords matching your target.

Yes, I also said target. Just like your resume is not a history book, it can never be a one-size-fits-all document. Don’t blast off your resume at any potential job.

At Design Resumes, I work with you to target your resume. As we create a career marketing strategy resonating with the contributions you have made. Your resume should deliver a resounding story of how you can provide value to the company you are targeting.

Do you have short-term jobs in your history?

Delete them. Why list 6 months or 9 month jobs? If you created a branded story reflecting your value during the last 10 to 15 years, you have no reason to list short-term older jobs.

What if you have significant contributions but they are 20 years old?

Create an Early Career Profile or a Prior Background section listing the title, company name, and total years. Did you have multiple positions with the same company? List them with the total years in each role.

Only when your contributions pass the time test and no outdated technology or low value information, add a bullet beneath it.

Early Career Profile

XYZ CORPORATION, Pittsburg, PA (11 years)
Facilities Engineer (4 years) | Production Supervisor (5 years)| Manufacturing Engineer (2 years)

OR example of detail:

Early Career Profile

Director – Product Engineering | XYZ SYSTEMS, Division Candid Industries, Santa Ana, CA | 16 Years

Rapidly promoted within first five years from Senior Metallurgist to Director of Product Engineering.

Directed broad-based engineering staff of up to 100 engineers, tasked with creating safe and quality engineered aero system products, specifically landing gear for Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, Lockheed, and Northrup-Grumman platforms for commercial and government markets.

  • Spearheaded full product lifecycle in collaboration with diverse engineering design team from multiple disciplines. Teams included Structural, Mechanical, Material Science, Electrical, Test, and Reliability, Maintainability, and Sustainability Engineers as well as dedicated Procurement Agents and Manufacturing Engineers.
  • Orchestrated initial industry systematic approach to steering design team to manufacture and deliver complete aircraft landing gear systems to market to airframe developers (Boeing and Lockheed).

Repeat after me “My resume is not a history book.”

Think deeply about the value and contributions you brought and then create that strategic marketing document.

Need help? Hire me. As a Certified Master Resume Writer, I can take the pain out of writing your resume and even make it fun. We work together to discover those forgotten contributions and position you to win your next role. To find out how, Click Here.


  1. Melissa Cooley on June 26, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly, Julie! I know there are a few industries that do require a complete work history (animal research is one that comes to mind), but they are the exception, not the rule.

    The same thing you talk about here applies to what a candidate includes in a skills/strengths section. If a skill has not been used for 15+ years or some technical knowledge is no longer employed in the industry, it doesn’t add any value to a prospective employer and takes up space that could otherwise be used to further demonstrate relevant contributions.

    • Julie Walraven on June 28, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      Thanks for the comment, Melissa! I agree with the skills / strength statement too. Assessing your resume and putting your best foot forward is what you want to do. Technology especially goes stale so quickly.

Resume Design and Job Seeking Tips

Here are Design Resumes' latest articles on job search, resume design, resume writing, and Linkedin optimization articles I've written.

FREE Resume and Job Search Tips by email

Get free tips and strategy direct to your inbox. just add your name and email below. I respect your privacy.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Julie Walraven, Design Resumes

Julie Walraven

Professional Resume Writer

Here are ways I can help you land your dream job.

You may be halfway across the country or the world. When you work with me, we share coffee, laughs, and concerns. This turns the scary job search into creative, consultative writing and learning sessions.