Why it’s important to keep your resume recent and relevant

Convey future-focused in your resume

While it’s tempting to maintain an extensive (and no doubt impressive) career history in your resume, there are strong and valid reasons for being ‘space and content ruthless’.

The general rule is to go back about 10–15 years in detail on your former positions (as relevant). And as you tweak and tailor your resume and other career documents for your dream role, also keep the ‘who cares’ factor top of mind. Write and format from the recruiter and employer perspective – what do they really want to know about me? What have I done in my recent career in particular that really highlights what I can deliver?

Time is of the essence: It’s a lot more job-competitive in today’s marketplace, and recruiters are often the most impacted by this. So it’s essential you keep your resume recent and relevant, to both attract and maintain recruiter attention. Consider leaving out those earlier, less job-relevant roles, and only listing key contributions from those earlier, more job-relevant roles.

Avoids initial judgements: We all like to believe age and other discrimination no longer exists in the job market, but why chance it. Those with long-term, job-relevant work experience no doubt have a lot on offer. But recruiters will still likely be more interested in what they’ve done in more recent times. Demonstrate your worth as an employee that is contemporary and future-focused.

Keeps the content ‘snappy’: The standard length of a resume (excluding entrant-level and research-based) is 2–4 pages – two pages max in some regions such as the UK. This means that resume real estate is at a premium, so use this space wisely. Ensure your first page immediately showcases your standout professional offerings to recruiters (an opportunity to recap your more extensive work history), and that the remaining pages are concise and relevant.

Looks attentive and proactive: For most roles, prospective employers want to be convinced that you’ll adequately ‘meet the job brief’. Keeping your resume job-tailored (including recent and relevant) will help to achieve this, and will also likely demonstrate your willingness to put in the extra effort (to go the extra mile). Also keep in mind that the job interview could be an opportunity to expand further on those earlier career highlights you’re really proud of.


If you’ve been considering taking a career plunge or increasing your future employment opportunities, maybe it’s time to consult a professional resume writer. From spicing up a LinkedIn profile to overhauling a resume and adding an often-critical cover letter, to writing up selection criteria attuned responses, Walton’s Words thrives on creating career documentation that helps you to stand out. Give us a call or drop us a line if you’d like to discuss your resume writing needs further.

Jeanette Walton received a Writing Expertise Acknowledgement via resumé work published in 7th edition of Resumes for Dummies

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