Are There Certain Cases Where I Should Leave Jobs Off of My Resume?

In What Situations Should You Skip a Previous Job on Your Resume

Writing a resume can be a daunting task, especially if you have held multiple jobs that you aren’t sure are relevant to your current goals. How do you know what jobs to include and what jobs to leave off a resume? After all, your resume is a marketing document, not a legal one. You don’t have to list every job you’ve ever held. You can include the jons you want to include and leave other jobs off your resume.

Is There a Legal Requirement to Put all Previous Positions on a Resume

Your resume is not a job application. An application will ask for specific information within a specific timeframe. Your resume is your opportunity to sell yourself. It is your branding document and you get to choose what you include on it.

 Situations in Which You May Think About Leaving a Job Off

There are several cases in which you may consider leaving a job off your resume. Maybe you worked a short term job that didn’t last long. Many students work part time or temporary jobs while in school. These positions may seem logical to leave off your resume especially if you feel like they didn’t contribute something significant to your career path that you want a potential employer to know about. However, you may have worked a short-term position that gave you experience in your chosen field and is worth keeping on your resume. If a job lasted three months or less, it is easier to justify leaving it off your resume.

You may also consider leaving off jobs that ended badly or that could look bad on your resume. This is not necessarily a problem but if it creates a significant gap in your employment history be prepared to explain what happened during that time in an interview with a potential employer. Any time there are significant gaps in your employment history most employers will question what took place during that time. The same also applies to jobs that you feel would look bad on a resume due to an issue with the company or industry that you worked in. If you leave those positions off your resume, you should be prepared to explain why in an interview.

There can be fine line between having a resume that is too long and leaving certain jobs off your resume. Generally speaking, you want to include five to seven years of job history on your resume. The exception to this would be if you have worked several long term jobs such that listing more than three on your resume would constitute a longer time period. Regardless, listing jobs that are more than fifteen to twenty years old may not be beneficial unless they involve experience that is very specifically related to the position you are currently applying for.

Sometimes you may consider leaving a job off your resume if you feel it would reflect poorly on you. This could be because of the perception of the industry you worked in or work done for a company that is viewed in a negative light. In these cases, you will have to make the determination on how that reflects on you. Most employers will understand that a company’s choices do not necessarily reflect those of their employees and most of these situations can be explained in an interview.

First of All Ask Yourself Why You Actually Think You Should Remove it

If you are considering leaving a job off your resume, you should ask yourself why. The answer to that question will help you determine if you should omit or include it. If you are worried about the image it creates, you may opt to leave it off. If you feel it isn’t relevant, be prepared to explain any gaps and make sure that it doesn’t make it appear that you don’t have much work experience. Put some thought into what you learned at the job and consider highlighting those things on your resume rather than leaving the job off completely. Maybe you didn’t learn specific computer programs but you gained experience in how to deal with difficult clients. There are a lot of skills that are picked up in jobs that would seem otherwise irrelevant.

Common Reasons for Not Leaving Any Job Off a Resume

Any time you opt to leave a position off a resume, you need to be prepared to have a good explanation for why. You want to make sure your resume is relevant and intriguing to potential employers but you also don’t want to leave them feeling like you were deceitful in some way. Employers also don’t like to see gaps in employment. For many this may lead them to believe that you were content with not working during a period of time which speaks to your work ethic and drive. If you have a gap in your employment you need to have a very good reason why.

While you may decide to leave some positions off your resume for a variety of reasons, the headache of worrying about how to explain those omissions may be more trouble than it is worth. It may be easier to list positions that you don’t feel are relevant for whatever reason in shorthand form and not go into great detail on the position rather than leaving it off completely. This will prevent having to explain why you left them off if they come up during reference checks or past employment backgrounds.

The Biggest Focus Should Be on Whether Your Resume is Relevant to The Job You’re Applying For

Depending on the positions you are applying for, it is common for applicants to have more than one resume. Many will have industry or job specific resumes that highlight the skills they would need or that would make them a good candidate for a specific position. In this case, it seems to make sense to leave some positions off your resume. Even in that situation, there is a good possibility you will eventually have to answer for that time period

If your job experience is limited, listing all your employment history will serve you better than leaving off jobs you don’t feel are relevant. Having experience in work of some kind will look better than not having experience at all. While it may not pertain to the specific job you are applying for, it will show that you have consistency, can demonstrate responsibility and have experience in a position. This will most likely lead to more opportunities for you than not showing a job history of any kind.

A Common Question: ‘should I use a staffing agency to find a job?’

You Asked, We Answered: Should I use a Staffing Agency to Find a Job?

According to the American Staffing Association, more than 90 percent of companies in the U.S. use staffing firms. Staffing firms play a critical role in helping companies find talent. Unlike corporate recruiters, recruiters at staffing agencies have access to jobs at multiple companies covering a wide spectrum of industries and positions. If companies and your competition are using them, you should be too.

Arguments for Using Staffing Agencies

Can Save you Time and Stress

Partnering with a staffing agency means that you complete one application, have one interview with a staffing specialist and get considered for many positions. Rather than having to search for jobs, apply for each, follow-up on each application, then complete interviews with the hiring company, you have someone else doing the leg work for you.

Try out Jobs Before you Commit

When you are placed through a staffing agency you have the opportunity to work in a position and make sure it is the right fit for you. Similarly, the hiring company has the chance to see if you are the right candidate for their business. You have the opportunity to gain experience and skills while making sure the company you are working for has the right environment and culture for you.

Potential for More Options

Staffing agencies represent multiple companies and most cover multiple industries. This means that with one application you have access to a wider variety and number of positions that you could potentially be a fit for. It’s common for staffing agencies to send candidates for multiple interviews. The more interviews you have the better your chances of landing your next job. Even if they don’t have the right position for you at the time, their inventory of jobs is constantly changing. The position you are looking for may come available tomorrow and you will be at the top of the list to be considered for it.

It’s Easier to say no

When you register with an agency, you may be offered multiple positions and you can choose which position is the best fit for you. If you interview with a business and don’t feel good about the position it is easier to communicate that with your staffing specialist, who can help you refine your search.

Only Apply to Serious Companies Looking to Hire

Recruiters at staffing agencies have their fingers on the pulse of the job market all the time. They know who is hiring and what the positions hold in terms of future growth. The reputable agencies will only work with those businesses that they know to be good employers as well. Just as they have vetted their candidates, they have also vetted their client businesses. You can have peace of mind knowing that you have someone advocating for you and on your side.

Representatives are Highly Motivated to get You Placed

It is the recruiters job to place candidates and fill open positions. Because they work for both the candidates and the businesses, they are highly motivated to meet the needs of both. Their goal is to make the right placement the first time for their clients (or at least it should be). They will be working to put you in front of the best businesses that match your job search goals.

They Know the Right People

Direct connections to the hiring managers at various companies, people you might have never been able to get in though with

Help and Support

Businesses hire staffing agencies to find them the right candidates and do the leg work for them. They will work with the agencies that they trust and have confidence in. Because of this rapport they have built with businesses and hiring managers, they can successfully advocate for you and get you in front of the right person, something you couldn’t have done on your own. They have the ear of the right people that are making the hiring decisions.

Arguments Against Using Staffing Agencies

Additional Procedures, Policies, and Paperwork

Reputable agencies will require you to do an in-person interview with one of their staffing specialists or recruiters (unless special circumstances apply) before sending you out to one of their clients. This will mean doing more than one interview to secure a position. If placed through an agency, you will most likely need to complete their new hire paperwork and repeat the process when you are hired on by the business you are placed with after your temporary period is concluded.

Could be Restricting

If you are working with an agency that only has a few openings at a time or specializes in an industry that is not your chosen field, you may limit your options. You will want to make sure the agency you work with represent the kind of employers and industries you are interested in and that they work with a large number of companies so you have more potential options.

You Could Get Ignored

Some agencies may place more value on higher level candidates. If you’re not one, you could be pushed to the back burner. Make sure that the agency you partner with has positions in the fields you are qualified for and that they are motivated to fill all their positions, not just the high level ones.

Don’t I Get Paid Less if I use a Staffing Agency?

While there are some minor downsides to using a staffing agency, they can all be avoided by making sure you choose the right one to represent you. Do your research, ask around, and make sure you are choosing the agency with the best reputation and the most jobs. Working with a staffing agency to find your next career will only help you expand your options. Employers are using staffing agencies and you should be too.

How Many Pages Should a Resume Be? We Discuss Optimal Resume Length

How to Decide How Many Pages Your Resume Should Be

If you ask someone this question, more often than not you will hear that your resume should never be more than one page. That has long been the standard and most employers would automatically disregard your resume if it exceeded one page. However, that has changed. The new rule of thumb is: your resume should be long enough to entice hiring managers to call you for an interview. There is no longer a hard fast rule for how long your resume should be as you have to consider things like the position you are applying for, your experience, number of employers, education and scope of your accomplishments.

Long Resumes vs. Short Resumes

There are a variety of factors that should and will affect the appropriate length of your resume. It is important to remember that recruiters and managers have short attention spans. Your resume is your ad and it doesn’t have to cover everything you have done in your career. The person reading your resume needs to know what is relevant to the position they are hiring for and you have to catch their attention.

When Does it Make Sense to use a One Page Resume?

Generally speaking your resume should only be one page if you have less than 10 years of work experience or if you are making a drastic career change and your previous experience is not relevant to your new goal. If you’ve held one or two positions with the same employer you should have no issue keeping your resume to a single page. If you are having trouble keeping your resume to one page, try a summary statement that focuses on your skills and objectives. If you have a long job history, keep it to within the last 10 years.

When Does it Make Sense to use a Two Page Resume?

Two page resumes make sense if you have 10 years or more of experience related to your goal and/or the position you are applying for. A second page would also be appropriate for those applying for positions in technical and specialty fields that need the space to prove their technical knowledge. If you decide that you need a two page resume make sure you are not including things like positions held long ago, outdated accomplishments, old training and hobbies.

Is it Ever Best to go Three Pages?

Three page (or longer) resumes are very rare and should only be utilized by senior-level managers or executives with long track records of leadership accomplishments. The other exception would be candidates that are in scientific or academic fields that have long lists of publications, licenses, etc. that are relevant to include. You would want to be very selective when considering going to three pages and make sure that all the information you are including is indeed relevant to the position you are applying for.

3 Key Areas You Should Consider When Deciding Length

When deciding how long your resume should be, there are several different areas to consider. Your previous job history, accomplishments and the specific position/industry you are applying in should all be taken into account.

1. Achievements and Accomplishments

It’s important to make sure that your resume includes accomplishments and awards you have received. This could include special recognitions, licenses, certifications, speaking engagements and other employment related recognitions. If your list seems too extensive include it as an addenda to your resume rather than including these on the first page.

2. Relevancy

Not all of your experience will be relevant to the job you are applying for. If you have a long job history that isn’t relevant to the current position, include those as bullet point so you have room to highlight the experience that is relevant. This applies to jobs you have held as well as education, certifications, recognitions, etc. Everything highlighted in detail on your resume should be relevant and of interest to the employer you are handing it to. In some cases, it may be beneficial to have more than one resume so you can make them specific to the different jobs you are applying to.

3. Formatting

No matter what length your resume ends up at, you should be concise and capture the attention of the reader on the first page, preferably on the first third of the page. Employers typically screen resumes for as few as six seconds before deciding whether to keep reading. As long as you grab their attention, the length isn’t as important. Keep your writing concise, use short paragraphs and bullet points. The better organized your resume is, the easier it will be to read. If you have a lot of relevant information, don’t try to cram it into too small of a space just to keep your resume to one page. It is more important that it is readable.

Final Thoughts on Resume Length

The “rules” that used to exist surrounding the length of resumes no longer exist. The only steadfast rules now are that you can’t lie, you can’t have typos/misspellings, and you can’t include negative information. In the age of Twitter, we have seen a trend move back toward shorter resumes but this won’t work for every applicant and every position. If the resume is being used for networking or job fairs, create one that is just one page but still have a full resume for applications and interviews. If you are having trouble with formatting or knowing what to include, consult a resume formatting guide online or a professional that handles resume writing who can make recommendations.