One of the most puzzling concepts to some candidates is that of the resume as a marketing document INSTEAD of a job application.

This may come as a surprise, but employers don’t want to read through all of your work history!

The past decade is of most interest to them, as well as any and all relevant qualifications that prepare you to be their best candidate.

To get at the heart of this idea, start thinking of the story of your career in marketing terms, rather than as a detailed litany of jobs and tasks.

By definition, marketing communications give the audience reasons to engage and be interested in the subject matter, and your resume deserves no less attention.

If you’ve kept adding to your resume throughout the years, and now struggle to fit it onto anything beyond 2-3 pages, this is a sign that something has to give–and it should start with the oldest and least relevant information.

Since relevance can be hard to assess, here are some points to help you analyze what data SHOULD stay on your resume:

  • What is the most important job that qualifies you for the position you want?
  • Which projects demonstrated the type of work that is needed for your next role?
  • What skills did you use that are necessary in the job you seek?
  • Which of your employers is most prominent? Are any household names?
  • Which of your job titles is most directly related to your current career goal?

Conversely, you can eliminate or minimize work experience based on the following criteria:

  • Does the job predate your relevant experience of the last decade or so?
  • Has the technology used in this job changed substantially?
  • Would using the position title “date” your experience in any way?
  • Are the tasks completed for this job far beneath your skills?

While it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact date cutoff, most employers are interested in seeing experience dating back around 15 years.

After that, it’s a simple matter of summarizing up the positions held by listing just job titles and company names.

Remember–a resume is designed to market your career experience, NOT dump all of your information out for employers to filter!

The more ways you can link your talents to the job, the easier it is for hiring managers to see why they need you on staff.