I’ve pondered and Googled this question again and again, and the experts say that your resume should only go back as far as there is relevant experience. If you are a college student, like me, possibly only as far as high school or even only covering your college coursework, if you are a junior or senior.
This came to mind after a recent interview at a fashion promotion company, I recently had. Let it be known, I know almost nothing about fashion, other than it can be pretty and being fashionable is pretty expensive.
Long story short, I totally bombed the interview (insert tear here), but as every failure is a learning experience and that’s what I’m here to do, I’ll share a bit. I was interviewed by the creative director and another executive, who seemed to have as hard a time picturing me as part of the team, as I did myself. Fashion is art, and my resume is all English; however, before the Milton, Dickens, and Donne, I actually studied art. I had plum-colored hair and oil-stained boots and would have looked almost at home in the middle of the Harajuki hurricane I walked into—but in high school. I still dabble, but as my parents say, art hardly ever pays the bills, and definitely not oil.
It occurred to me later that I would have had a better chance if I had my portfolio. Most of it had been done years ago, but it would have shown that I could be creative with more than just a pen. I realized that the key to this position might have been to show that I can do more than what’s written on a page. If you are a college student, your resume shouldn’t be more than a page. I’ve heard employers question longer resumes, wondering what this person has to gain besides a check and whether or not they will stay a reasonable amount of time. My personality and what I do for enjoyment—not for money—were the key, especially in this interview. It was a chance to get even a tad more personal and let them know that their aim was important to me, that I could be versatile, and that it was more than just an internship.
So, since the resume has to be about a page, and because it can only cover so many years of your life, consider what else in your life has prepared you for the position, and how you can let potential employers know about it.