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Resume Writing – How Many (Previous) Jobs Should You List in Your Resume?

Resume in folderIn today’s world, the majority of hiring managers have too many applications to sift through. In most cases, a typical hiring manager is faced with multiple stacks of applications, and he or she has only a small amount of time to get through them.

The point here is that job seekers must make sure they’re presenting themselves in the best way possible. In terms of previous jobs, most job seekers want to go back as far as possible because they want to impress hiring managers. However, many job seekers aren’t sure if they should disclose their full employment history. For this question, there is no answer that is right or wrong.

It depends on what the job seeker prefers to reveal about their employment history. Many hiring managers would love to see 10 years of employment history. There aren’t many benefits to going back any further than 10 years because technology and business practices have changed so dramatically over the last decade.

However, people who’ve been working for a single company for the last two or three decades should not cut their employment history off at 10 years; it’s the people who have had six or more jobs over the last 15 years who should cut off the employment history at 10 years. Job seekers should always include relevant experience, and even if this experience is from 20 years ago, it should still be included.

Early Years and Employers

Regardless of how much work history a job seeker wishes to reveal, the way that this information is presented is very important. To keep the hiring manager reading the resume, it’s important to showcase accomplishments and skills towards the top of the resume.

It’s a good idea to place the oldest information at the bottom. Bullet points or paragraphs can be used to showcase job descriptions. Job seekers need to understand that there are no solid rules concerning what should be put on a resume.

At the end of the day, job seekers need to use their resume to provide the best presentation possible. In many cases, a hiring manager might want to see 20 to 30 years of history, but a lot of hiring managers don’t want to see anything beyond 10 years. A resume should always be adjusted to fit the specific position that is being applied for.

How Many Jobs to List

Many job seekers want to know how many previous jobs they should list on their resume, and there is no doubt that this is a valid question. Some people have had as many as 90 jobs in the last decade, so it only makes sense that they’re confused and don’t know how many jobs to add to their resume.

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It’s no secret that job applicants wish to show hiring managers their qualifications; they want them to know that they’re qualified for the position, but job seekers want to know if there is such a thing as listing too many previous jobs. To answer this question, it’s best to think in terms of quality and not quantity.

Listing High-quality Work History

Many job seekers want to show their qualifications, so they list all 90 of their previous positions. Oftentimes, this strategy will produce undesirable results. Most hiring managers have no more than one minute to look at a resume, and they use this time to quickly scan resumes and find applicants that they’re interested in.

When a hiring manager comes across a resume that has 100 previous jobs listed, several issues can arise. First, the hiring manager isn’t likely to go past the first page of the resume. Second, he or she is likely to spend far less time scanning over your recent work history.

Third, he or she will probably feel the need to skim through different areas of the resume because it’s so long, which can cause them to miss all of the important parts. Basically, listing too many previous jobs will usually reduce the applicant’s chance of getting the position. Job seekers should strive to provide the best information to the hiring manager and nothing else.

They Really Don’t Care

Normally, a hiring manager could care less about a poor job that you held over a decade ago. Even if the experience is relevant to the position you’re applying for, such experience isn’t recent, and that is what a hiring manager cares about. Even if you do still have all of the relevant skills, there is a good chance that the hiring manager will assume you’ve lost those skills because they’re 10 years old.

Most hiring managers don’t want to see a long list of jobs that were only held for a short span of time. In fact, he or she might view your bouncing around through different jobs as a negative point against your credibility. As you’re creating your resume, you should constantly ask yourself if the hiring manager will really care about what you’re writing. Put simply, try to only list previous jobs if they’re quality.

You should automatically remove any jobs that aren’t relevant to the position you’re applying for. Job seekers should list only a handful of previous jobs, and these should be high-quality, relevant positions.

As the list of previous jobs grows, the amount of time that the hiring manager has to review each position decreases. Job seekers should always try to avoid making it seem like they’re constantly going from one job to the next.

It’s important to understand that most hiring managers only care about the most recent jobs an applicant has held. The sad reality is that most of an applicant’s job history is not important to hiring managers. Job seekers should always avoid putting irrelevant jobs on their resume.

To sum it up, try to list only a handful of previous jobs and make sure these positions are both high-quality and relevant to the job being applied for. By listing too many jobs, job seekers actually run the risk of hurting their chances for getting the position they’re applying for.