Executive IT Resumes: How Far Back Do You Go?

technical resumeby Sheree Van Vreede (@rezlady)

Tell Your Story, but Keep it Brief

As a director-level or executive-level candidate in the IT and technical field, the decision about the amount of information to include in any IT resume is very important. Among those considerations is how many years of experience should you show on your technical resume? Many have differing opinions about how far back a candidate should go on his or her resume. Prevailing thought among those in the resume industry has been to include about 10-12 years of work history on a resume. Professional resume writers will often cite potential age discrimination, lack of employer interest, and space as the core reasons to not include any information beyond the 10- or 12-year mark.

In my opinion, for someone at a director level or going for an executive role, 12 years of work history just won’t cut it. While you don’t want to portray yourself as too old on paper, you also don’t want to mistakenly communicate that your experience doesn’t match up with those you will be competing against. I can also tell you that 12 years of experience will not attract executive recruiters or corporate executive decision makers to your corner, either.

In my experience, people want to get an understanding of how you started out and how you progressed to where you are today. Of course, when they read your technical resume, they don’t want it to be 5 pages in length either. Creating some type of abbreviated entry for your older history going back about 20-25 years can provide them with the information they desire without drastically increasing the page count of your resume while maintaining the focused branding message you are seeking as a technical executive.

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