Should I include all of my employment history on a CV?

This is a common question and the simple answer is a resounding yes!

I see many CVs that only have the last 15 years experience on them, and when I ask why, the answer is inevitably always the same – “I was told by a recruiter that my earlier career wasn’t relevant”. Well, they’re wrong.

Why you should include all your employment history on a CV

The only real purpose of a CV is to get you an interview. There are all sorts of things that you can do to enhance a CV and make it more readable, but you (the job hunter) and/or the recruiter never really know what will grab the interest of the person making the decision on who they’re going to interview.

It could be that your first job was working in a factory packing scotch eggs, and you’re now a photocopier Sales Person, but what if the person hiring also worked in a factory packing scotch eggs? There is now a connection to you as a person, and that has to be a plus in getting noticed.

Reduce the detail

Your earlier career or employment should have much less detail than your most recent job, even down to just saying who you worked for; job title; employment dates. Each job on your CV should less detail as you go back in time and make sure it’s in reverse chronological order!

I don’t want to give away my age

Some employers (and recruiters) will be biased against older candidates. It’s not right. But it’s a fact. If you’re even remotely concerned about this you can bundle your earlier work history into a paragraph headed as “earlier career”. Just write a short summary of what you did before the main part of your employment. An example might be, “Before joining ABC Motors I worked as a bar steward in a private members club and in retail”. Short and sweet – with no dates.

Hopefully, I’ve explained the benefit of including all your work history on your CV, and how to keep it short enough.

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