How far back should I go on my CV/Resume? Here’s the solution:

‘How far back should I go on my resume?’ is a popular question among job seekers. This is because most job seekers want to impress a potential employer by demonstrating that they have the necessary experience for the job. However, you don’t have to include everything in your CV to demonstrate this in your next job hunt. When applying for a new job, this article addresses what to include and what not to include in the experience portion of your resume.

But, before we get into that, it’s necessary to understand how most corporations and organizations recruit. According to various studies, hiring managers glance at a resume or cover letter for about six seconds. This tells you one thing: putting your whole work history in your resume is most likely one of the reasons you haven’t heard back from the job you applied for.

Your résumé should, on average, go back 10 to 15 years. This does not, however, imply that you should include everything that falls within that span.

When is it appropriate to go back ten to fifteen years on your resume?

If you worked three to five different jobs at that time, experts recommend going back 10 to 15 years on your CV. You can divide your years of experience into different milestones.

If you’re a web developer, for example, you might have spent your first two years as an intern at a startup. After that, you worked as a full-time web developer at a different company for the next three years.

You were then offered a better job at a larger firm, where you are now employed as a senior web developer. This example demonstrates that you worked for three different companies, obtained valuable experience, and advanced in your profession.

When is it appropriate to go back ten years on your resume?

You can still limit your job experience to the last ten years or less in some cases. This usually occurs when you’re making a substantial professional shift and need to limit your CV to a specific period.

Here’s an illustration.

Peter has a Master’s Degree in Travel and Tourism Management under his belt. He is hired by a prominent tourism firm and stays there for two years.

He then works for a year as a tourism director before enrolling in a five-year Bachelor’s degree program in Software Engineering.

As a result, when Peter applies for a job as a software engineer, he’ll most likely limit his professional experience to that field. His former profession in tourism, for example, may be irrelevant in this case. Furthermore, it gives the appearance that he is unconcerned about software engineering.

Can you go back further than 15 years in your resume?

Job applicants who go back more than 15 years in their resumes are unusual, but not unheard of. Because most recruiters are only interested in your most recent work history, not what you did 20 years ago.

Here’s another illustration.

For the past 14 years, Jenny has worked as an accountant. She had previously worked as a cashier at a well-known business in her city. Despite the fact that cashiers and accountants work in the same profession, recruiters will be more interested in what Jenny has accomplished as an accountant over the last 15 years than in what she has accomplished as a cashier.

Why shouldn’t you list your entire work history on a resume? 

Aside from the six-second rule, here’s why listing your full employment history on a resume is never a good idea, unless under the special circumstances we outlined earlier.

Remaining relevant
Recruiters are more concerned with your suitability for the job than with your entire employment experience. As a result, you should concentrate solely on the material that is relevant to the job you are applying for. First, examine and comprehend the job description before constructing your professional CV.

Discrimination based on age is avoided.
Discrimination based on age exists in the workplace. When your CV implies that you’ve worked in the business for far too long, it gives the idea that you’re overqualified for the position. Yes, some recruiters will turn down your application if they consider you are overqualified for the position.

Because you have more experience, you’ll most likely want to be paid significantly more than the employer is willing to pay. However, you do not anticipate the recruiter to call you back to tell you that they are unable to hire you. As a result, they’ll simply disregard your resume.

Keeping it short and sweet
A professional CV is reviewed by recruiters for an average of six seconds. When your resume seems more like a dissertation than a relevant description of your work history, they’re unlikely to call you back. Recruiters will be able to quickly comprehend your primary accomplishments, prior experience, and positions held if you keep your resume short.

Contact a career coach on WhatsApp(+237 683 173 873) to renovate your resume with compelling, current formatting and content.


We hope that this article provides a solution to the issue, “How far back should a job application go?” If you’re still unsure, ‘how far back should resumes go?’ Here’s a basic rundown of what happened:

You don’t need to be extremely rigid when writing your relevant work experience on your CV. The art of resume writing necessitates an understanding of how to provide the appropriate quantity of information – neither too little nor too much. Remember that whether you’re applying for a part-time job, an entry-level position, or a management position, relevancy is one of the most significant factors that recruiters look at when reading your resume.

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