I was looking at my resume, and I started to wonder: Should I really still have stuff I did in high-school/college in my resume? Things like organizations, leadership conferences, etc.

How long ago is too long ago for something in your resume to consider dropping it off from it. Is there any criteria as to what should go and what should stay?

  • "How long ago" is a relative term. Are you post college? Did you have a internship? Are you looking for your first job out of college? Etc, etc. Generally speaking the last job is most relevant. – Dan Aug 4 '16 at 18:49
  • Yes post college, barely a year into my first professional job – Just Do It Aug 4 '16 at 18:51
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    If you are currently into your professional job, I'd just drop anything prior to college. Only have things from your current job on it and maybe a high overview of your college career. – Dan Aug 4 '16 at 18:52

As a rule of thumb, once you graduate from college or have at least a year of work experience, anything you did in high school is pretty much irrelevant. I will add an exception if you did professional programming while you were still in high school.

As far work experience, anything older than 10 years can go.

As far as technical skills, anything you would hate to get hired to do, should get eliminated.

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    Short and to the point, I like it – Just Do It Aug 4 '16 at 18:51

A resume is nothing more than a marketing brochure.

Its only function is to interest the hiring manager enough to be willing to spend some time interviewing you.

When something currently on your resume no longer contributes to your goal of landing an interview, it's time to pull it.

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    Yeah, I suppose if you are in your late 20s would company A really care if you were head of the yearbook club? It might make you appear immature to some folks. – Dan Aug 4 '16 at 18:51

Length of resume in your 20's, it should be one page.

If you have a bit of experience (e.g. 5-9 years), then maybe put an "Early Career" section to show that you did stuff, then progressed. These would be 1-2 lines per job. This can help show that you know how to do stuff.

Do you want to do it? If your resume is a list of things that you don't want to do anymore, then either drop them, or change the wording.

Is it relevant? If you are in IT, then your HS job of mowing lawns for a few neighbors should drop. But, if you managed a swarm of HS students mowing 50 lawns, had an LLC, bought a riding mower, etc. then it might be relevant if you are going for a business job.

Is it known? If you have an item like an organization or conference or whatever that is not known in your field then it won't help. It also won't help if it is not impressive in some way (at least impressive vs. others who are applying for the same job).

Does it show that you will DO? Employers want you to show them can you can actually do something. They don't really care about your GPA; they don't care if you are a member of church such and such; they don't care if you were in some organization. They want to know, "What will you do for me?" and "How will you help my organization make money?" Use your resume to tell this.


It's all about what is most relevant. If you have good, relevant experience for the position from high school/college, it might be worth including. More often than not, it's not going to be worth the real estate.

In my education section, I had:

Bachelor of Science, Computer Science                      College I Went To 2003-2006
  2nd Place 2006 Some Programming Competition

Because I thought that accomplishment was worth 1 line on my resume. I was applying from a less technical managerial position to a more technical individual contributor role. I had to cut content to get it down to 1 page, and that happened to make the cut.

Whenever I need to update my resume next, that is very likely to get cut, as will a number of items from my first programming job that I kept in to emphasize my technical skills. They will be replaced by more recent achievements from my current job.

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