Monday, March 8, 2010

Reader Question: Do I have to put all of my jobs on my resume and if not, how far back should I go in listing my jobs? Trey L.

No Trey, you don’t have to list every job you’ve ever held on your resume and you shouldn’t go back more than 7-10 years when listing your work history on a resume. You should really only list the jobs that directly relate to the type of job for which you are currently applying. This is how your “target” your resume. For those of you who have moved between two or more different career fields over the span of your work life, you will have a targeted resume for each of these fields instead of one long resume. If you are concerned that the reader of your targeted resumes will question any employment gaps due to your changes in career fields, you can solve this problem by still including information from the unrelated work experience by organizing your resume in the following format:

Divide up your “Experience” section into two sections, with the first section called “Relevant Experience.” In this section, you will list your job title, the name of the company/organization, city, state, and dates of employment (remembering to keep everything in reverse chronological order). Then you will list with bullets your duties and accomplishments from that job.

Immediately following the “Relevant Experience” section, include a section called “Additional Experience.” List the same info regarding job title, etc. as you did in the previous section, but leave off the bulleted list of job duties and accomplishments. The only time you would include a bulleted list of those job duties and accomplishments in this section is if you don’t have enough information to have one full page. In this case, you would only include duties and accomplishments that demonstrate any skills that could be easily transferred to the job for which you are applying.

This is a common question I get about resumes, among many others. If any of you have additional questions about resumes, networking, job interviewing, appropriate attire for various events, etc. Please feel free to submit them to I will be selecting questions from readers to feature in future blogs and will give you a free copy of my Book Advance Your Image if your question is chosen.

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