For job seekers with lengthy work histories or careers that cross multiple fields/industries, it can be difficult to prepare an effective resume that highlights key qualifications in a concise way. These candidates often wonder what to put on a resume and what to leave off, and it can make the already difficult task of writing a resume that much more confusing.
Luckily, there’s a strategy for both scenarios. Including an additional experience section on a resume can be the answer to how to list old jobs on a resume as well as how to mention irrelevant positions without taking the focus away from your primary career objective.
In most situations, knowing what to include in a resume (and how long the resume should be) is straightforward. The general rule is to provide in-depth information for the last 10–15 years of your career along with a 3–5 sentence summary paragraph, a list of 10–15 key skills, and details on your education, professional credentials, and affiliations (if applicable).
All these resume sections are important, but the most vital area of the document is the professional experience section. So, what if your work history stretches beyond 15 years? What if your career is more of a winding path than a straight line through a series of positions with increasing responsibilities?
Job seekers often wonder how many jobs should be on a resume, but that all depends on your career. The number of positions you’ve held is not as important as the quantifiable achievements you can claim and the contributions you’ve made in each role. Using an additional experience section is a great way to mention jobs that aren’t as relevant or were from a long time ago without adding substantial length to your resume.
For senior professionals with careers that span decades, it’s still essential to focus on the last 10–15 years of your work history. If you have significant accomplishments from earlier in your career, consider using a hybrid resume strategy to highlight that information in a more prominent area of the resume. The hybrid resume also works for professionals who have had many short-term positions as it downplays job-hopping.
When it comes to choosing how to list old jobs on a resume (or irrelevant jobs), the most important thing to consider is how it may affect your career timeline. Including an additional experience section on a resume is mostly meant for early career roles from many years ago, but when using this strategy to downplay irrelevant positions, you’ll need to be sure it won’t create the appearance of an employment gap on your resume.
For this reason, you may need to include some less-than-relevant positions in your professional experience section, but only if leaving them off would make it seem like you were out of work for a significant period. Otherwise, feel free to move those positions to an additional experience section (or simply cut them altogether if they really don’t add anything to the document).
Formatting the additional experience section on a resume is simple and there are only a few variations to consider:
Single-line Additional Experience Section
Additional experience as Project Manager for ABC Construction Company, City, State and Site Superintendent for DEF Constructors, City, State
Multi-line Additional Experience Section
Project Manager – ABC Construction Company, City, State
Site Superintendent – DEF Constructors, City, State
Previous Positions with the Same Company
Previous positions with ABC Construction Company include Project Manager, Site Superintendent, and Carpenter
The primary reason to include an additional experience section on a resume is strategic. If including in-depth information for certain roles may work against you by creating the potential for age discrimination, presenting you as a job-hopper, or bogging down your resume with irrelevant details, then using an additional experience section may be the best option for you. If you’re unsure about how to write your resume, review the three main resume writing strategies or consider getting a professionally written resume.