I am a firm believer in the 1 page resume and have guided many employees and my wife in implementing it as they pursued new employment or advancement, with great success.
But I find myself challenged in putting a 1 page resume together for myself due to the following.
I just left (retired) from my last company after 18 years due mainly to changes in the management structure and business philosophy, not because I want to quit working. I am 62 years old and not ready to fully retire. Also, I spent the previous 22 years, again employed with one company. So, 40 years with only 2 companies.
As I pursue my next opportunity I want my resume to reflect accomplishments from both companies but am concerned that listing those that go back 20 years or so may be viewed with a negative. Should I just try to list accomplishments from only my last company? Which could prove difficult in filling out the one page resume at the risk of listing actions that could be considered weak?
My question is…..How far back should a person go when listing past accomplishments on their resume, especially when I have only been with 2 companies over the last 40 years?

gehrhorn's picture

  1. If you really, really worked at it you could get it down to one page.
  2. With this much experience you'd probably be ok having 2. (I'd go for one).

The purpose of the resume is to get an interview. You don't need to present your whole history or experiences to the firm. All you need to do is get them to say, "we should bring this person in" or "let's phone screen bmcwi".

I'd go with a split of both companies. 1 line for contact information at the beginning. 1 line for education at the end. As many relevant responsibilities and accomplishments in the middle as you can possibly get. "References availbe on request" is forbidden :) You need all the room you can get. 

ashdenver's picture

I say you should be able to go all the way back the full 40 years. You probably aren't putting "dates of accomplishment" along with each item. (e.g. "In 1992, I did ABC project. In 1986, I accomplished XYZ.")  I think it's enough to have the two single line items (start/end dates, position, company name, etc.) and a series of accomplishments for each one.

If you had multiple roles with each employer, then maybe an accomplishment or two with each role depending on space available. If you had ten roles over the 40 years, I would expect to see at least 10-15 accomplishments there.

In general, I think recruiters are looking for a progressive resume which might indicate fewer accomplishments toward the bottom of the page with more accomplishments toward the top of the page (more current experience.) For instance, if you had a total of five roles over the 40 years, you might list 5 accomplishments for the most recent, 4 for the next one, 3 for the one before that, etc.

And now that I've gone back to the MT Resume Workbook, sure enough they discuss "weighting" - basically, more stuff for the most recent jobs, less stuff for further past roles. Don't forget: 1/2" margins and 10 pt font!