Which Jobs (If Any) Can You Leave Off Your Resume?

Wondering if you can leave jobs off your resume? Here are some recruiter-backed tips for what you can delete, and what to make sure you keep!

3 months ago   •   5 min read

By Rohan Mahtani
Table of contents

We’ve all been there: you’re polishing up your resume in order to apply for a new job, and you’re suddenly hit with the thought:

“Do I really need to include that job on my resume?”

It might be because that job wasn’t a great experience. Or because it didn’t really have anything to do with the kind of work you want to do now.

The quick answer? Absolutely, you can leave a job off your resume – and sometimes, you should.

If you want to get the job of your dreams, your resume has to tell a potential hiring manager why you’re a good fit. Including every single job you've ever had can actually dilute the strength of your application.

Whether you're a recent graduate, a seasoned professional, or someone looking to pivot to a new industry, this article will provide you with the practical advice and confidence to make those tough decisions about what to include on your resume – and what to leave off.

Key advice from a recruiter to consider when deciding whether or not to leave a job off your resume
Key advice from a recruiter to consider when deciding whether or not to leave a job off your resume

To identify which jobs (if any) should be omitted from your resume, upload it to the tool below. The tool will assist in recognizing what to exclude and provide insights on areas for improvement.

Can you leave jobs off your resume?

Of course you can!

Ultimately, it’s your choice which jobs you include on your resume. However, there are a few special cases worth considering:

If you were fired

You can leave a job you were fired from off your resume if you want. But, there are a couple of things to consider before you hit backspace.

Remember: you can list a past job on your resume without saying you were fired from it.

If you worked at the job for a while or it’s relevant to the role you’re applying for, it’s probably worth including. List it as regular experience and focus on what you learned while you were there.

However, if you were fired after less than 3 months, you’re probably better off leaving it off of your resume. Similarly, if the job isn’t relevant to the role you’re applying for, you can leave it off.  

Related: Should you put jobs you were fired from on your resume? And how?

If you quit

Again, you can leave it off if you want— this is your resume, after all! Generally, though, if you worked there longer than 6 months, you should include it.  

Related: How to put a reason for leaving on your resume (and when not to)

If it comes up in your background check

A background check can show a potential employer all the jobs you’ve held, including any you leave off your resume.

Be prepared to discuss this if it comes up. You can be honest about why you left it off— let them know that you were working in a job that wasn’t a great fit for you, and you decided to see what else was out there. Frame it as a time when you were exploring opportunities, rather than focusing on the fact that you were fired.

And— this approach works for explaining any gaps that might show up after you leave a job off of your resume, too.

Which jobs should I leave off my resume?

Omitting jobs from applications isn’t dishonest— in fact, in some cases, it’s better to leave it off so that it doesn’t distract from your qualifications.

Let’s look at when you might want to remove work experience from your resume:

Irrelevant jobs

When applying for a job, your resume should highlight the skills and experiences that most clearly show you’re a good fit.

If the job in question is totally unrelated to the job you’re trying to get, it might be best to leave it off.

For example, if you want to become a Software Engineer but your past experience is as an Auto Mechanic, you can leave that off of your resume. When you omit the job, though, be sure you highlight any transferable skills you learned while you worked there.

You can do this by incorporating these into other work experience bullet points. If you don’t have experiences that demonstrate key skills that qualify you for the job you’re applying for, keep the job on your resume!

See our article on changing careers for how to do this.

Short-term jobs

Generally, you don’t want to include a job that lasted less than 3 months on your resume. Hiring managers might see you as a job hopper and think, “If they left that job so quickly, what’s to stop them from leaving this one?”

If you want to include a job that lasted less than three months, be sure to include a relevant reason for that length of time (e.g., it was an internship where you gained significant work experience, or a temp job in a field you’re trying to move into)

TLDR: Leave off short-term jobs that lasted less than 3 months, unless you have a really good reason for including them.

Related: Should you leave short-term jobs off your resume?

Old jobs

If you worked at a job over 15 years ago, feel free to leave it off. Companies are much more interested in what you’ve done recently.

If you're unsure about how to effectively tailor your resume with these tips in mind, Resume Worded’s 'Targeted Resume' tool can be incredibly helpful. It’s an AI-powered platform that analyzes your resume against specific job descriptions, ensuring you highlight the most relevant skills and experiences. Give it a try to make your resume as impactful as possible for your next application.

Bonus: Can I leave education off my resume?

If you’ve been thinking about leaving jobs off your resume, chances are you’re probably looking at the other sections for things you can delete, too.  Well, good news: If you’re applying for a middle or senior-level position, you can leave your high school diploma off your resume (even if you don’t have a college degree).

For college degrees, you should usually list them. However, to streamline this section of your resume, leave off all courses and your GPA. To avoid ageism, you can also leave off your graduation date.

If you’re wondering whether or not your resume will help you make the cut for the job you want, why not check out Targeted Resume? Our free AI-powered platform will help you identify any skills or keywords your resume needs so that you can focus on preparing for the interview.

Spread the word

Keep reading