Palladian Career Resources

Unrelated Work Experience on a Resume

Unrelated Work Experience on a Resume

I ran into a resume of a person that organized their work experience well. The job seeker had made a very significant career change 12 years ago. The prior career was a technical trade and the current career is sales role.

The resume was organized with the two different careers separated into a professional experience section and an additional experience section. Here's how he structured his resume:

Executive Summary

<One paragraph – four sentences>

Core Competencies

<List of a dozen skill keywords>

Professional Experience

<List of positions with descriptions and accomplishments – over the last twelve years – included employment dates>

Additional Experience

<List of positions with descriptions and accomplishments – did not include employment dates>


<College degree and industry certifications>

I like to have detailed employment dates on a resume, and yet found this presentation, without dates for some positions, very compelling. The reason I like this presentation is it focuses the resume on the current career.  Additionally, I don't feel that the employment dates from this prior career add much value to understanding the job seker's background.

If the job seeker had changed careers more recently, I would want the dates. Employment dates give an indication of stability – they don't tell the whole story but do add valuable information. Further back in a person's career, they are less relevant.

If the job seeker had stayed in the same career, I'd also be more interested in the dates from further back. Understanding the progression and experience of a job seeker is important. Part of this is knowing how they got their start. Did they start at the bottom and work their way up slowly, or did they reach a high level without working in the trenches? There are advantages and disadvantages of both. Knowing how someone got started in a career is important for this reason.

In this case, the prior experience wasn't relevant and was more than 10 years ago. Separating it into a different section and providing less information was fine. It drew more attention to what was important – the experience of the last twelve years.

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