The rule of thumb for resumes today is to spend valuable resume space on no more than 10 years of your career history, whether that involves 1 position or 5 or more. Professionals with longer careers can indicate their older roles and companies briefly at the end of the resume in an “Additional Roles” section, and offer details on request. But what should you do if one of those older roles is relevant to your current job search? Perhaps that role was in an industry you’re currently targeting, or involved tasks you’d like to pick up again in a new position. Here are 3 strategies for how to highlight that role on your resume — without bogging down your most current information.
1. Add an “Early Career” section.
The “Professional Experience” section that makes up the bulk of your resume likely includes the company name, the dates during which you were employed, a brief company description, your job title, a detailed job summary, and major accomplishments. Trying to include 2 or 3 additional entries here to ensure inclusion of an important role further back in your career will result in a bloated resume with too much outdated information.
To sneak in additional roles without bloating your resume, add an “Early Career” section. Here, each job entry can include simply the company name, your job title, a very brief summary of your duties, and an accomplishment or two.
2. Add a “Selected Early Career” section.
Let’s say the relevant older role is from the 1980s — significantly far back in your career — and you don’t want to include the many roles that came after it. Instead of summarizing your entire early career, simply use this section to highlight the role that’s relevant to your current search. Once again, the entry can be as brief as you’d like, including some or all of the information found within the “Professional Experience” section. This is a good way to ensure that a relevant role has enough resume “real estate” without filling your resume with irrelevant information. Any additional roles can be summarized in an “Additional Roles” section at the end of your resume.
3. Maximize the “Additional Roles” section.
If a few key details from your early career are relevant but you don’t feel the need to devote too much space to them, you can maximize the “Additional Roles” section while conserving valuable resume space.
Here’s a typical “Additional Roles” example:
ADDITIONAL ROLES: Project Lead, XLM Services; Project Manager, Ubersoft; PMO Director, ALT Corp. Details available on request.
If you have enough space, you can add a relevant detail to each listing:
ADDITIONAL ROLES: Project Lead, XLM Services (Built 5-person project team for $200K initiative); Project Manager, Ubersoft (Delivered $500K project on-time/on-budget); PMO Director, ALT Corp. (Played key role in growing revenue $650K in 2 years). Details available on request.
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