I've been in IT for a long time and am currently updating my resume. I'm not sure what things I should/should not include from the early part of my career. Any advice?
Generally speaking, unless it’s relevant to a specific job you’re applying for, details over 15 years old or so are not of great value.
If you don’t feel comfortable removing prior job experience from your resume, just include the job title, company name, and date employed. This approach still shows that you have significant experience, but thins out the size of your resume and emphasizes your more current work.
Also, regarding the hardware, software, application languages, and operating systems you have experience in, only include those that are relevant to today’s world. For example, I was quite expert in the Digital DEC 10 operating system in 1980. This would have no value on my current resume.
Lastly, if your prior (very old) experience was as a programmer and your more recent experience (last 15 years or so) has been as a manager or project leader, emphasis your leadership and/or project management positions and provide less detail on now less relevant historical programming experience.
Thinning out your resume has another potential advantage. It provides you with the opportunity to add new, more current and relevant, information to your resume without increasing its overall size. As an example, let’s say your current resume is two pages in length and you want to keep it that way. If you can remove half a page of old and/or unneeded material, you will have the room to add a half page of newer, more job relevant, information without extending its overall length.
Personally, I found taking old information off my resume to be very uncomfortable and counter intuitive. After all, I was proud of my past accomplishments. Then, a close friend suggested, well, told me, that my resume was too long and that my most current jobs did not have enough detail. Once making the changes, even I had to admit that my resume was vastly improved.
If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at eric@ManagerMechanics.com or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom.
Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to grow.