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Jobs On A Resume - Should You Include All Your Jobs On The Resume?

© David Alan Carter
All Rights Reserved

So you've got a resume and you've got jobs on that resume. A lot of jobs. Some that have no relevance to your current career objectives.

We've all been there. Most folks who have been around the block a time or two have a work history littered with entry-level, part-time and nutty full-time jobs that don't contribute one iota to their current professional goals. Like that summer you spent as a chicken-costumed mascot for a fast service restaurant, waving at traffic on the street. Put All Jobs On A Resume? Let's Take A Break And Think About This...Is that really going to help you take the next step forward in your accounting career? Not likely. So why is it on your resume?

The Jobs On A Resume - Relevance Matters

If someone once told you that every job you ever held needs to be on the resume, under the auspices of preventing any gaps in your employment history, forget that. Remember the following instead: the resume is not intended as a comprehensive biography. Rather, it's intended as a summary of relevant qualifications for a particular opportunity.

If all the jobs you've ever held are 1) few, and 2) relevant to your current profession, and 3) fit nicely into a pattern of increasing responsibility, then it makes sense to proudly line up those puppies in reverse chronological order. But if there's an oddball job or two that derails your work history and distracts the reader, there are a couple of things you can do.

Handling The Oddball Jobs On A Resume

Take all your jobs and divide them into two groups. The first group (we'll call them alpha jobs) are the jobs that have relevance to your current profession and professional objective. If nothing has relevance on the surface, pick a job or two in which you gained skills that could be transitioned into the qualifications needed for the position you're after. These alpha jobs are the ones you will want to present and highlight under the Experience or Work History section of your resume.

Having trouble identifying... your alpha jobs, those with the most revelance to your career objective? That can be especially tough if you're making a transition from one occupation to another. Now might be a good time to consider a professional resume service.

But beware, not all resume services are created equal. Former recruiter and pro writer David Alan Carter put the Web's most popular resume writing services through their paces – comparing writing quality, customer service, pricing and more. See who came out on top...

Reviews of Resume Writers

The second group (beta jobs?) Have little or no relevance to your current profession and professional objective. Let's downplay the betas by either leaving them off the resume entirely, or if the gap(s) created would be too glaring, allocating them to a section titled "Other Experience" or "Other Jobs."

Keep these beta jobs bare-boned; just the facts, ma'am.

But Don't Go Forgetting... Entirely

Oh, and let's not forget our experience with those oddball jobs entirely. The way the economy is going, who knows. Someday, we all might benefit from (and want to reference) that experience as chicken-costumed mascot for a fast service restaurant.

Where we go from here: If you haven't done so already, a decision is coming up fast regarding the resume format. Wondering which format makes the most effective resume? Chronological or functional? Get into the nuts and bolts of the Effective Resume Format. Or, if that decision has been made, consider how to develop and work effectively with Resume Accomplishments.

David Alan Carter is a former recruiter and the founder of Resume One of Cincinnati. For more than ten years, he personally crafted thousands of resumes for satisfied clients from all occupational walks of life.

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