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Listing Less Relevant Experience On Your Resume

Kent Nolen

Q. I’ve recently graduated from college and am now looking to begin my career.  Should I still include high school work experience?  My college work experience looks better than my HS work experience, but I just don’t have a lot of it.  So, should I include things like food service and old volunteer work or leave them off and make my resume shorter?

A. As a general rule, limit your resume to just 10 years of experience.  I know that doesn't answer your specific question, but it is worth reiterating here.

When it comes to deciding whether or not to omit positions that fall inside the 10-year window, the most important thing you can ask yourself is, "Is this experience adding value and is it relevant?"  Secondly, you want to make sure that you aren't creating large gaps by leaving something out.

In your case, it sounds like the answer to the first question is no, the experience is not adding value and it is not relevant.  Since it also seems likely that it will not be creating gaps (since it is from HS), I would be inclined to remove it.

If you really feel like it is important to show the earlier and / or less relevant work, then I suggest creating a section titled "Additional Experience."  You could then list just the basics – title, company, location and dates.  This allows you to honor your full work history without filling the resume with irrelevant and potentially distracting experience.