In the last post, we started to discuss how many jobs to list on your resume. The answer to that question is “few.” The more jobs you list, the less each job is going to be reviewed by the interviewer, and you risk giving off the impression that you bounce around from job to job.
However, the most important thing to remember is that the employer does not care about most of the jobs you have held. It may seem counterintuitive, but most of your work history is simply not important. The best way to prove this is with examples. For the sake of discussion, let’s pretend you are applying for a job working with computers.
Scenario: You are applying to an IT job. You are writing your resume, and you have held 4 jobs in the past. You list them all on your resume. The companies you worked with are as follows:
- 2009-2010 Microsoft Corporation.
- 2008-2009 Intel Corporation.
- 2006-2008 Apple, Inc.
- 2004-2005 McDonalds
It’s pretty easy to see from this list that the employer is not going to give a damn about the McDonalds job. You may have something you believe is relevant (for example, maybe the job is looking for someone that had leadership experience, and you were a manager), but the employer is going to take one look at a resume that lists “McDonalds” as an employer and completely ignore it. The hiring manager simply does not care.
This applies to college graduates as well. You probably worked a lot during college for various crappy businesses. Then you get one job that looks good on a resume, but the boss is a jerk and you quit. Now you have the option of making your resume again for a new employer.
In this case, you may want to only put the one job that you held that was impressive. Yes, it makes your resume look smaller, but no corporate job cares that you worked for a grocery store, or worked as a waiter, or worked as a barista. They don’t care. It’s unlikely any of your achievements with those types of companies is going to impress a corporate employer.
That brings us to another point. What if the jobs are all relevant to the position? Here, still, we have another issue – does the job you list say anything new about your eligibility, or does it bring nothing to the table? Let’s look at a similar list again:
- 2008-2010 Microsoft Corporation.
- 2006-2008 Intel Corporation.
- 2004-2006 Apple, Inc.
- 2002-2004 Dell, Inc.
Now, at first glance it appears that all of these jobs are relevant to the position. However, that is not the question. The question is – does the job add anything to the resume that helps you get the job? The answer is probably a big “no.” Most likely you had the same tasks at Dell that you had at Microsoft, and most likely you already listed those achievements. So while the name “Dell” may be impressive to the employer, it adds nothing that isn’t already on your resume. It is simply added space, and added space with no value is bad space.
Note: The oldest job may not be the redundant job. If you worked at Intel for only 4 months, that is the job that may be useless on your resume. Short jobs and jobs that aren’t as impressive can be removed from a resume, unless it makes it look like you were out of work for a long period of time.
Finally, jobs you held a long time ago may also now be irrelevant. A job you held for 3 years in the 1980’s is not as useful as the job you held last year. It may have no use at all. All it does is provide the employer with an idea of your age. The older the job is, the less likely it is useful on your resume, especially if your newer jobs are more impressive.
Overall, it is important to remember that resumes are essentially sales documents, with yourself as the product. You only want to list your absolute best features. All of the less important features are unnecessary.
Take Away Tips
- Your resume should only list your best and most relevant jobs.
- If there isn’t a great reason to put the job on the resume, don’t list it.