Don't overload your resume

December 17, 2010: 11:23 AM ET

A wealth of experience is a great asset, but packing your resume with too many jobs is usually a mistake.

By Anne Fisher, contributor

Dear Annie: I was heartened to read your December 8 article about the slightly brighter job market for people over 55, and my own experience lately confirms that long experience is coming back into fashion with employers: After being out of work for over a year, at age 57, I've gotten three interviews in the past month.

My question concerns my resume. In my 40-year career so far, I've had lots of different jobs that have taught me a wide variety of skills, so I've put all of them on my resume. A friend tells me that is distracting, so I should omit most of the jobs I've held and just list the ones that relate most directly to whatever position I'm currently applying for. Is that correct? Also, what should my resume say about the short periods during which I've been between jobs or (most recently) took a "survival job" just to pay the bills? --Cincinnati Sam

Dear Sam: Your friend is giving you wise counsel. "A common mistake people make when developing their resume is to pack it with too many jobs, in hopes of dazzling future employers with their wealth of experience," says Evelyn Salvador, a professional resume writer and career coach whose useful book, Step-by-Step Resumes: Build an Outstanding Resume in 10 Easy Steps, is now in its second edition. More

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