I am a professional software engineer and I've recently begun to update my resume. All told, I think I have a nice collection of accomplishments and technical know-how. My big concern is to avoid giving the impression of someone whose career is stagnating. I've held a number of positions at approximately the same level, so the sense of career progression might appear just a little bit weak if one focuses only on job titles.

I am thinking of minimizing or even removing at least some of my experiences which took place more than ten years ago. In addition to helping reduce the “stagnation factor,” this would give me more space to add my latest accomplishments without pushing the length beyond two-and-one-half pages, and help with the age-perception factor (not a huge concern since I come across as pretty young in person).

Is it appropriate and advisable to remove those old experiences completely? If instead I simply minimize them, would something like the following work well? Thanks in advance for your advice!

**job #1** 
<bullet list of details...>

**job #2**
<bullet list of details...>


**Prior software development positions**
Foo Bar, Inc., New York, NY 2003-2006
Lorem Ipsum, LLC, Chicago, IL 2003
Etaoin Shrdlu, Ltd., Miami, FL 1999-2003
Biz Baz Corp., Boston, MA, 1998
  • 2
    Except for specialised fields (you'd know if you're in one) your resume should be two pages max. See: Why is a one to two page résumé recommended?. I'd also recommend reading How can I reduce the size of a long resume without hiding all my skills and experience?.
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 13:49
  • Aside from that I'm seeing a few different questions here. Faking faster career progression by selectively leaving out jobs (you'd create gaps, don't do it). Leaving off old jobs to streamline the resume. Listing old jobs in a separate section (uncommon as far as I know). And leaving off old jobs to avoid agism. Each of those seems to deserve a question of its own and now I'd expect numerous answers picking what they want to answer or ignore...
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 13:50
  • Thank you for the links. I'm definitely covering everything in my career going back 10 years. I do see your point about how selectively listing older jobs would create gaps. I've gathered it's not uncommon for people to simply trim down the details about those older jobs; I can do that instead. I've never actually fielded a question about my career progression in a job interview; I'm just trying to anticipate what "might" happen.
    – Clarity_20
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 15:08
  • 1
    Possible duplicate of Should I list skills on my résumé if I have no interest in using them again?
    – gnat
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 20:54

1 Answer 1


Information more than 10 years old for a tech resume is considered irrelevant. I can install windows 3.1 and Windows 95, for example. Just use the most recent 10 years, and if you must, put down other relevant experience under "additional experience".

Agism is a real thing in IT, so you don't want to go back too far and show that you're older than 35.

  • 10
    Yep, I'm 36 and beginning to feel the sting of age discrimination. As an engineer I've never been better and have been continuously improving throughout my career , but landing an offer these days is hard. It seems employers aren't interested in experience anymore, just cheap "code monkeys."
    – James Adam
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 13:25
  • 3
    @JamesAdam I'm closing in on 50. After I hit 40 it got very hard. a friend of mine couldn't find any work after he hit 55. Also, unlike other fields, our skills become obsolete very quickly, at least the ones we can list on a resume. Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 14:00
  • 2
    @JamesAdam & Richard, I think there's 2 aspects to this: 1) many people rely on a limited skill set their whole careers, and after a while that's just not enough anymore. They are not the sort of people who strive to keep up with their field, and give everyone a bad name. I work with a guy who's 35 but is almost 5-8 years behind on technology. He's had this job for 8 yrs, and hasn't learned ANY new technology - doesn't even know the basics of Javascript. 2) After you've gained a whole bunch of experience you become more expensive to hire. A young graduate is cheap and eager to learn.
    – AndreiROM
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 14:32
  • 4
    @Walfrat Now that was rather insulting. The current way of developing has it's flaws and has been too eager to leave behind some of the basics like structure, meaningful names, lean code, efficient code, documentation (gone the way of the dinosaur). You may want to rethink your prejudices, as this old man just showed the youngsters a thing or two by recoding an application that took run time from 10 hours to under 10 minutes. Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 16:07
  • 3
    @HLGEM I stopped myself before I went to far and ended up telling the kids to stay off my lawn. But seriously, yes, That and letting the tool best suited for the work do the work. As you know, the older technologies are harder to use, but give more control as well. Heck, take the GUI away from the kids and let them try to write out the SQL. Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 18:29

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .