How Many Jobs Should You List on a CV

How Many Jobs Should You List on a CV

Many job seekers are confused about how many positions to include in their resume. There are several factors that come into play such as design, readability, length, and relevance. Moreover, there isn’t a clear rule out there to make things easier.

Hand typing job list in CV on laptop

In general, you should always prefer quality over quantity. It doesn’t matter if not all of your work history is accounted for, as long as the one listed shows the knowledge and expertise required by the position you’re trying to land.

On this page, you’ll find a few useful tips to figure out how many jobs to list on your resume depending on your experience, industry, and the format of your CV.

How far back should work history go on an application?

Many believe in the 10-year rule sayig that that’s how far back candidates should go in drafting the work history section of their resume. Anything older than that should be left out.

This may be true for some. After all, the part-time work you’ve taken up to pay your studies may not be pertinent to the opening you’re after now. You’re also more likely to apply the skills and techniques learned in the past decade, since the older ones may be obsolete now (that’s especially the case with technology).

Yet, it’s not true for all. If you’re trying to be hired as a Manager or Head of Department, for example, the fact that you have been in the field for over 15 years definitely plays to your advantage. 

In this case, the work history part of your resume should have a prominent space on the page, maybe at the expenses of fields like the academic background and grades.

How to figure out how many positions to include in your CV

As mentioned before, there are several elements to keep into account when deciding where to stop in listing your professional experience. 

Anticipate the employer expectations

As you should know well by now, tailoring your CV to the recruiting company is paramount for a successful application. An effective resume isn’t just easy to read, informative, and relevant, but it also anticipates the reader’s expectations.

Is the organisation advertising the position looking for loyal employees with solid experience? If that’s the case, your work history can take up more space than usual and it’s important to list employment dates accurately.

Are you trying to enter a tech startup that values creativity and innovation? Then you should let your specific projects and achievements shine more than the actual job titles and responsabilities.

Respect the ideal CV length

If you start writing down all the positions you’ve held in your life, you may soon find yourself asking: ‘Can my CV be 2 pages or more?’

You should keep your resume as short as possible. Although it’s often said that a standard resume is 1 to 2 pages long, it’s been proven that HR professionals tend to prefer documents that fit within one page.

A good way to not overwrite is to use an online CV builder that allows you to choose a template that fits your industry and helps you stay within the limits.

Again, there’s no one-fit-all rule. Some fields and profiles may require candidates to submit longer resumes and write in detail. 

Consider the relevance of your experience

It may come as a surprise, but those who tend to overdo their work history are often the candidates with the least experience. 

Recent graduates and those looking for a career change may end up filling the page with details of all of their previous jobs because they feel that they have to prove themselves more than other applicants.

This is counterproductive because the reader will feel overwhelmed with irrelevant content.

There’s no shame in stating clearly in your summary that you’re eager to start working in a new field. If that’s the case, a skill-centred CV could be a winning strategy as it keeps the focus on what you offer and gives you the chance of using keywords that will pique the recruiter’s attention. 

If you’re writing your first CV, remember that it’s ok to list just 1 or 2 jobs and include volunteer positions and extracurricular activities in your application. 

Showing that you have acquired transferable skills that you’re ready to use in the workplace will convince companies to give you a chance to prove yourself — and it’s much more effective than a neverending gallery of non-related occupations.