How much experience should you include on your CV?

Your work history is one of the most important things hiring managers take into account when they look at your CV, so it’s crucial to get it right and show them you are capable, experienced and knowledgeable. When listing your work experience, it can be difficult to single out jobs or different work experience which will present you as the perfect candidate for the job.

Writing the work experience section of your CV can make jobseekers ask all types of questions.

How many jobs should you list on your CV?
Are there any jobs you shouldn’t list?
Are there specific jobs you should single out?
Is it worth including older experience in your work history?
How do I order the work experience section of my CV?
How long should a CV be?

Read further for the answers to the above questions and tips on writing the work experience section of a CV.

How much experience should you include in your CV

How many jobs should you list on your CV?

The amount of jobs you list on your CV depends on the amount of time you have been working and how much experience you have.

The recommended amount is 10-15 years worth of work history which concludes your recent work history in a reverse chronological order.

It’s not advisable to list every job you’ve ever had. The reasons for this are:

  1. This can take up too much space on your CV.
  2. Many jobs are not relevant to the job for which you are applying and therefore are unimportant to prospective employers.
  3. Many jobs which you had longer than 15 years ago will be “out of date” in terms of technology development, methods and techniques.

Only include jobs which are relevant to the job description or have a certain applicability or purpose.

Are there any jobs you shouldn’t list?

If you have an extensive work history, it is better to only list jobs which complement the job description. This way recruiters can associate you with the job specification and visualise your compatibility, increasing your chances of being called for an interview.

It’s also a good idea to avoid including jobs which you had over 15 years ago. If you feel that the job contributes well to your list of work experience or that it is particularly noteworthy, then you should still include it. However, the chances are that any job you had over 15 years ago used outdated technology, strategies or techniques.

Are there specific jobs you should single out?

If you feel that a specific job you had singles you out and makes you stand out from the crowd, it is well worth including on your CV.

Hiring managers like seeing something original on CVs and will be intrigued. They read many CVs and it is always good if they remember you by something interesting they read on your CV.

Do single jobs out that:

✓ Relate to the job specification
✓ Make you stand out
✓ Show recruiters that you are capable, experience and prepared for the job

Is it worth including older experience in your work history?

It’s not suggested that you include any work experience older than 15 years. The reasons for this are essentially that due to the ever-developing world of technology, business and globalisation, a job you had over 15 years ago will have been very different to a job in a similar post now. Programmes and techniques you used may be outdated and therefore useless to recruiters looking for a candidate with a modern approach and familiarity.

How do I order the work experience section of my CV?

Your work history on your CV should always be in reverse chronological order. If you’re progressing up a particular career ladder, this allows recruiters to see how you have progressed and draws attention your most recent job which will be listed first and ideally be the most relevant to the job.

How long should a CV be?

The recommended CV length is 1-2 A4 pages. Any longer and recruiters probably won’t bother reading further.

Short and snappy is the way forward

Short and snappy grabs attention, leaves recruiters with questions and allows you to leave some explanation for your interview.

This means that the work experience section of your CV should be no longer than one A4 side and should give you enough space for listing all other sections of your CV on another A4 page, such as your academic background, qualifications and skills, interests etc.

You can read more information about writing the work experience section of a CV or use an online CV maker to help you create an effective CV which will impress prospective employers and help you to get the job.