Work Experience

How To Mention Unrelated Work Experience On Your Resume

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Many candidates who come to us for resume help have the same question. They have years of professional work experience, but a lot of it isn’t relevant to the position they’re currently seeking. On the one hand, they don’t want to waste resume space detailing work that doesn’t relate to their application. On the other hand, they don’t want to omit years of work that developed them as a professional.

Related: How To Write A Resume That Helps You Land Your First Job

How do you mentioned unrelated work experience on your resume?

The Right Phrase

I use a magic phrase to address this issue: “additional experience includes.” It’s perfectly all right to sum up large portions of your career in one sentence that lists previous employers or positions. If you spent the first 10 years of your marketing career performing lower-level tasks, you could say: “Additional experience includes marketing positions with ABC, DEF, and XYZ (1990-2000).” If your previous work was in an unrelated field, you can simply list the companies: “Additional experience includes positions with ABC, DEF, and XYZ.”

The Age Game

This technique can also be very helpful to those who are concerned about age discrimination. I summarized the first 15 years of one candidate’s career into one sentence to downplay the fact that she was 55. Because her experience was relevant to her field, removing it from her resume entirely would have been a disservice, but we did not include the years that experience encompassed.

The Experience Issue

I recently worked with another candidate who used this technique to show she was a more experienced professional than her education suggested. This woman had worked for 10 years before going back to complete her bachelor’s degree. From looking at her graduation dates, you would assume she was in her 20s. In fact, she was an experienced manager in her 30s—a fact that was important to show for the level of job she was seeking.

Many of us have work experience that doesn’t fit neatly with our current goals and objectives. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving it off your resume altogether, using the phrase “additional experience includes” can help you mention the experience quickly without wasting precious resume space.

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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Jessica Holbrook Hernandez | Expert Resume Writer & Personal Branding Strategist

About the author

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, CEO of Great Resumes Fast is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter. Want to work with the best resume writer? If you would like us to personally work on your resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile—and dramatically improve their response rates—then check out our professional and executive resume writing services at GreatResumesFast.com or contact us for more information if you have any questions.


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Jessica Holbrook Hernandez

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, CEO of Great Resumes Fast is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter.

3 comments

  1. IN my experience as a hiring manager for 25 years, I have discovered something that might help here. Hiring managers are busy and overwhelmed with resumes, so the better you can “connect-the-dots” between your past experience and what the targeted job is asking for, the better for you, and makes it easier for me to screen you IN, not OUT. Most of my career has been at Hewlett-Packard , a high tech company. But when we had an opening in marketing we always tried to have a few candidates in the final pool that were a little “outside the box”. Here are two examples: I hired Susan who had a marketing career at a shoe polish company to market printers, and another guy whose previous job was selling cosmetics to the military base PXs. Talk about outside-the-box!

    But you, as the candidate, must connect-the-dots for me, the hiring manager. Tell a believeable story where I begin to see you actually in the new role, and I start to look for reasons to like you, rather than reasons to screen you out.

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