However far back a job seeker chooses to go, effective presentation is crucial. Showcasing key skills and accomplishments at the top keeps the hirer reading, allowing more time to sell attributes. Unless there is something from your early career that is particularly noteworthy to highlight, older information tends to be placed towards the bottom of a résumé.
"I advise job seekers to give paragraph or bullet point job descriptions as far back as 10 years. If the person has been in the same job for 10 years, then most of the résumé should be based around that one job," says Lizandra Vega, author of "The Image of Success: Make a Great Impression and Land the Job You Want." To keep the résumé fresh and length-appropriate, she recommends that earlier positions simply be listed by title, name of the company and dates of employment. "This shows the candidate has had prior work experience, and it lets the employer know the types of companies the candidate has worked for before getting to where she is currently."
While there may be no absolute rules as to what should or shouldn't be included on a résumé, remember that the ultimate goal is to present oneself as the best possible candidate for the position at hand. Always look to the information given in the job description for guidance.
"There are times when 10 years back just isn't far enough," says Dadah. "For example, a company may be looking for a controller with 25-30 years of experience. In this case, truncating your résumé may be inappropriate."
Bottom line: There isn't one "perfect" way to lay out work history, nor is there one magical résumé guaranteed to land any job. Be prepared to tinker with your presentation to adjust to the needs of the individual position. When all is said and done, the best résumé is the one that gets you hired.