Why Your Resume Should Only Include 10 Years of Work History

  • By Quentin Fottrell, MarketWatch
  • June 10, 2015

Sometimes having too much experience can hurt you.

Age discrimination is the most prevalent kind of discrimination in the workplace, according to a study published in March 2015 of nearly 2,500 workers by the AARP Public Policy Institute. What’s more, 15 years of surveys on workplace age discrimination show that over 60 percent of workers have either seen or experienced age discrimination, says Lori Trawinski, director of banking and finance at the AARP, a non-governmental organization and interest group with members who are 50 years of age or over.

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When asked the extent to which five specific types of discrimination negatively affected their ability to get a job, 51 percent said that age discrimination “greatly” or “somewhat” impacted their chances — compared with 25 percent for unemployment, 13 percent for race/ethnicity, 8 percent for gender and 4 percent for sexual orientation. The unemployed and long-term unemployed were more likely to identify some type of discrimination than the re-employed or short-term unemployed, the report concluded.

But there are things older workers can do to give themselves an edge. “Nominating yourself as a consultant is a very appealing option,” James says. “Who would be a better consultant — a junior worker or a senior worker with years of experience in that industry?” He says companies will begin to experience manpower shortages of middle and senior workers. Roughly 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 each day for the next two decades, according to Pew.

There are other job-hunting tricks that may prove controversial. Smoothing out a few lines on your face, while leaving your appearance broadly intact, might help older job hunters look slightly less world-weary, says Dan Schawbel, founder of WorkplaceTrends.com and author of “Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success” and founder of Millennial Branding, a management and consulting firm. But personal branding consultant Nick Gilham cautions about drawing a line between professional and misleading.

“There’s nothing wrong with age-proofing your resume,” Scott Dobroski, a career trends analyst with careers website Glassdoor. “You should have two pages maximum for most jobs and you should be able to capture this in the past 10 years.” It’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario, he adds, “but focusing on your most recent experience is a no-brainer. Going back any further will date you.” Similarly, Dobroski says there’s no need to put down the years you graduated from high school or college on a resume.

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