How Many Jobs Should You List on Your Resume?

Not sure how many jobs to list on your resume? This guide will walk you through how many jobs to list and how to choose which ones make the cut.

3 years ago   •   6 min read

By Rohan Mahtani
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There’s no straightforward answer to how many jobs you should list on your resume. The exact number will vary — depending on how long you’ve been working, how many jobs you’ve held, and how relevant your work experience is. There are, however, a few guidelines you should follow when deciding how many jobs to list on your resume.

How to determine how many jobs to list on your resume

As a general rule of thumb, aim to list 2-4 jobs on your resume. This number isn't absolute — instead, think of it more like a guideline. Instead of building your resume around a predetermined number of jobs, here's how to decide how many jobs really belong on your resume:

  1. Read over the job description. If it's an entry-level job, 1-2 jobs should be more than enough. For a senior position that requires 15 years' experience, you're looking at 4-6+ jobs.
  2. Consider your experience. If you've only ever held one job, don't try to pad out your resume to make it look like you have more experience than you actually do.
  3. Make a list of relevant jobs. Don't try to list every job you've ever held — instead, focus on creating a meaningful timeline. If in doubt, focus on your most recent positions.
  4. Instead of limiting the number of jobs you include, limit how far back your resume goes — generally, no more than 15 years.
  5. Format your resume work experience correctly. List jobs in reverse chronological order, with your most recent job at the top, and use bullet points to highlight your accomplishments (see our examples below).
  6. Take a look at your finished resume. Is it the right length (1-2 pages)? Is it easy to skim? Does it tell a story about why you're the right person for this job in particular?
Pro Tip: A good way to find out if you’ve chosen the right number of jobs for your resume is to upload it to the tool below — it’ll scan it and let you know if you’ve listed the right number of jobs based on your experience, accomplishments and skill set.

Deciding how many jobs to list on a resume

Still not sure how many jobs is the right number to list on your resume? Base your decision on these important factors:

Based on your experience

If you’re new to the workforce or have stayed in one job for a long time, it’s fine to list a smaller number of jobs. It's better to focus on meaningful accomplishments than to pad out your work experience section with fluff.

If you’ve changed careers, stick to the positions you’ve held that are most relevant. That might mean leaving off a huge chunk of your work history — to avoid looking like you lack professional experience, add a summary at the top of your resume to explain the career change and highlight your transferable skills.

Even if you have a lot of experience, consider leaving off jobs that are a) older or b) lack relevant accomplishments. It’s okay to curate your resume to tell the story you want it to tell, which may mean choosing a smaller number of jobs with more impressive accomplishments.

Pro Tip: Choose from 250+ resume guides and examples based on your industry and level of experience.

Based on the job

Another good place to start when deciding how many jobs to list on your resume is with the job description itself. The type of job and number of years of experience required should give you a feel for how many jobs to list. For example, If a job asks for 10 years’ experience, make sure your resume goes back at least 10 years.

You should also list accomplishments that relate to each duty or ‘must have’ listed in the job ad, which means choosing past jobs that are the most similar — or, if those jobs were in a different role or industry, ones that demonstrate relevant transferable skills.

Pro Tip: Include hard skills and keywords that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. Use the skills search tool below to find the right one.

Based on your resume

If your resume is getting too long — generally more than 1 page for entry-level and early career positions, or 2 pages for those with more experience — cut down the number of jobs you list. If listing older jobs means you’re having to include less impressive ones to fill in the gaps, consider creating a specific timeline — 5-10 years is fine, unless you’re specifically applying for jobs that require more experience. Showing key skills, relevant accomplishments, and meaningful career progression is more important than a huge breadth of unrelated experience.

Pro Tip: In general, you should limit your resume to the past 15 years. For most people, this might include 3-6 jobs, but the exact number of jobs is less important than their relevance to the position you’re applying for now.

Resume template

To get an idea of what your resume should look like, here’s an example:

Sample template showing how many jobs you should list in your resume.
Sample template showing how many jobs you should list in your resume.‌‌‌‌

You can access the resume template in Google Docs or download it as a pdf file.

How to make your resume the right length — every time

If your resume is too short

If you're just starting out, don't panic! You can still write an effective resume even if you've only ever held one job — or none at all. Instead of keeping that one job from when you waited tables for a summer in high school, consider including:

If your resume is too long

If you've been in the workforce for a long time, chances are you've amassed a lot of experience. That doesn't mean you need to include it all on your resume, especially if you started out 15+ years ago. To condense an extensive work history:

  • If you have a lot of short-term, contract, or freelance positions, combine related jobs under a single heading.
  • If you've changed careers, split your experience into a "relevant experience" section and an "additional experience" section.
  • If you have older jobs that are still relevant, list fewer (1-2) bullet points or just list the essential details — the employer, job title, and dates.
Pro Tip: Read our guide on how to list work experience on your resume for expert advice on how to make your resume stand out — no matter how much experience you have.

General tips for listing jobs on your resume

List jobs in chronological order, with your most recent job first. Don’t be tempted to use a functional resume format (which leaves off the dates of employment) to conceal awkward gaps — it will only make hiring managers wonder what you’re trying to hide.

Include 3-6 bullet points for more recent roles and 1-2 for older positions.

Don’t list every single job you’ve ever held. Only include those that strengthen your candidacy. That means jobs that are similar or in some way are relevant to the job you’re applying for and that have meaningful accomplishments — which generally excludes jobs you only held for a few months.

Avoid leaving huge gaps in your resume. If necessary, group multiple short-term roles under a single heading, like “contract work.” This looks neater and allows you to pull out more accomplishments than you’d be able to for each job individually.

Include relevant skills and keywords. Technical skills can go in a separate section at the end of your resume — listing 5-10 skills on a resume is ideal.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need to list every job on my resume?

Nope! Your resume doesn’t have to be a complete job history. Only include jobs that are relevant and that strengthen your candidacy.

Do I need to list every job on an application form?

It depends. If the form specifies a complete job history, then yes. Otherwise, treat it the same as you would your resume and list the most relevant ones only.

Can I pick and choose which jobs to list on my resume?

To some extent, yes. You can leave off older or short-term jobs, but leaving off a long-term position while including older and newer positions can make it look like you were unemployed for that period and leave the recruiter with questions.

Do I need to list short-term jobs?

No. If you held a job for less than 6 months or so, consider leaving it off your resume altogether unless there’s a very compelling reason for including it.

What if I have too many jobs to list?

If you’ve held multiple short-term jobs and leaving them off would create a noticeable resume gap, see if they have anything common that you could list under a single heading, like “contract work.”

I was fired. Do I still need to list that job on my resume?

It depends on the circumstances. If you were let go for a reason outside your control (like the company downsizing or restructuring), it’s fine to include it and won’t reflect badly on you. On the other hand, if you were fired for cause, you may want to leave that job off your resume. This is especially true if you want to avoid recruiters digging any further — remember, hiring managers can contact people from any job you list on your resume, not just those you list as references.

Similar to the above, if you’re filling out an application form that specifies a complete job history or asks if you’ve ever been fired, you do need to answer honestly. Reference checks are a thing, and it’s better to miss out on a job offer than to be fired (again).

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