The only thing more frustrating than writing about all of the jobs you have ever had is having to read about them on your resume. Employers generally have under a minute to review your resume and too much information could mean the employer misses the good stuff. Weed your resume of unnecessary or wordy work history -- that is the best way to keep your resume fruitful.
You want to get credit for the multiple jobs you have had. While you probably did learn a lot, too much variation in your work history could provoke more questions than it provides answers to. The easiest way to handle multiple jobs is to only include those that are most relevant to the new job. Previous nursing jobs or clinical experience are most valuable. If you have lots of these kinds of jobs, include those you worked at most recently, for the longest amount of time and where you had the greatest achievements. Jobs that require your ability to communicate effectively, practice ethical and safe judgment, pay attention to detail, solve problems and work in a stressful environment may also be relevant.
Keep in mind that your resume should be one page, but can be up to two pages when absolutely necessary. If your multiple jobs take up more than a page, even if they are all related to the new job, you could have a problem. For resumes that are two pages, only use two pages if you can fill both. Some employers may lose interest in your resume by the second page, so be sure to list the most important information first.
There is no need to list every job you have ever had since high school -- especially if that was 15 years ago. Your resume is not the place to showcase your awesome memory. At most, include the past 10 years of work history, realizing that the value of your experience diminishes as it ages. Your most recent experience, or that gained in the past couple of years, is what employers are most interested in. Spend more resume space discussing your accomplishments and tasks at these jobs, and less space on older jobs.
Do the employer -- and your career -- a favor by summarizing your qualifications from all the jobs. Brainstorm or create a list of strengths, skills or knowledge you gained from each of your many jobs. Group together similar skills and knowledge and highlight these strengths in your summary of qualifications. For example, if you worked in 7 different clinical settings over the past three years, mention this diversity. Your summary of qualifications section can be a short paragraph or a bulleted list and works well with a functional or skills-based resume format.
Sara Mahuron specializes in adult/higher education, parenting, budget travel and personal finance. She earned an M.S. in adult/organizational learning and leadership, as well as an Ed.S. in educational leadership, both from the University of Idaho. Mahuron also holds a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in international studies-business and economics.