How Far Back Should Your CV Go?
Updated: Jan 25
Your CV is often your foot in the door when it comes to applying for a job, and it needs to present your experience effectively and accurately. However, while you present your experience, you need to be fitting it neatly onto two neat, organised pages in a decent legible print.
People make a common mistake when they make their CV because they put too much experience and information in the document. What this does is crowds the CV and is often irrelevant to your current experience level anyway.
Experts say that you should be eliminating any early work experience that is older than 10 to 15 years entirely from your CV. Your experience and job history to get to your current skill level are valuable, but by eliminating these early positions, you are by no means selling yourself short.
Generally, what you want to consider in your CV should be your last 10 to 15 years of experience or your last five to six positions within that time period. Your CV needs to be relevant to the position you’re applying for, and in many cases, your most recent positions are the most relevant to the hiring manager looking at it. Your CV doesn’t need to tell your whole employment history and your story of getting to the experience you have today. Those early positions could be important to you, but your CV doesn’t need to tell your whole work history.
Instead, keep your CV as a good overview of your most recent and relevant positions, and you feel like you need to, you can elaborate during the interview.
The CV’s purpose is not to tell the full story of your life, education and work history; you should look at it instead as a demonstration of relevant skills and achievements. This is why you need to focus on the achievements, positions, and roles you played in your most recent jobs of the last 10 to 15 years. Your professional development is the furthest it’s ever been as of the moment you are writing your CV, which means that the most recent and relevant development isn’t the first job you had ten or more years ago.
Remember, the recruiter is not going to want to spend time reading through every position you’ve had from your first job until today if it’s not relevant to the position. Especially when they often have a pile of CVs to go through, the mistake of overstuffing your CV with previous irrelevant positions can cost you their attention, and your consideration.
When creating a CV, there are a few things essential to ensure you are putting yourself forward as best as possible,
● Prioritising your relevant experience
● Sticking to the optimal two-page length
● Mitigate age discrimination by removing older employment history
Otherwise, the only exception to the 10 to 15-year rule in situations in which you’ve maintained the same position at the same company for ten or more years, you need the 15 years of experience to be considered, explaining a CV gap, or if you’ve worked at a company with high praise/renowned reputation.
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