/ Asked by Shelley
I have been in the field of social services for over 23 years, most of my experience being social services until 2007. I then switched for a brief period over to Online Academics. When that ended, I had a few short-term jobs in retail that I left for various reasons. I am currently employed part-time in social services again and am looking for either a second part-time job or a full-time job in social services. I feel that my extremely varied experience is not necessarily a bad thing, but I would rather not have a resume that looked like I bounced around for awhile. How can I write a chronological resume that would not necessarily highlight my forays into retail? Thanks!
Answered by Ellen, Hiring Expert at Hospira, on Monday, June 2, 2014

The best advise that I can offer would be to place the retail on your CV.  It is best to have that information on your CV as most companies conduct background checks. If you have a gap with your employment that would raise more questions.  You can always explain the reason you went into retail and why you wanted to get back to your classical training in social services.  You can also state in the cover letter you craft why you got back into social services. 

Good luck!   
Answered by Rachel, Hiring Expert at Eaton, on Friday, June 6, 2014
You do not necessarily have to include all of your previous jobs on your resume, especially those that really fall outside of what your core history and focus of employment was and is now.  That being said, any sort of gaps on your resume will make any good HR professional pause when looking at your potential fit for a position.  It could be as easy as a brief conversation with a recruiter explaining that you took on work to make you financially solvent during a challenged economy while you were trying to find a role in your field.  This explanation is valid only if your resume truly reflects this by showing stable employment in your other positions. On the other hand your resume could be overlooked due to an unexplained gap on your resume. This situation is more likely if the rest of your resume does not demonstrate stable employment prior and subsequent to the gap. 
You are correct in saying that a diverse set of experiences can be a strength for some individuals.  It can show that a person can be flexible and adaptable, as well as being able to demonstrate proven success in varied circumstances.   A resume like this demonstrates the potential of a strong hire, if the variety of experiences include promotions and increasing levels of professional advancement and leadership.  On the other hand this same type of resume is problematic if there is a significant amount of variation in roles and that those same roles do not demonstrate advancement, but rather, the resume looks like the person does not have a clear concept of who s/he is professionally.  To a potential employer that type of resume indicates someone who is potentially flighty and unreliable.  If you are not sure what your resume is truly saying about you it may be helpful and worth your time and effort to have a professional review it and provide you with a constructive critique.    
Answered by Sharon, Hiring Expert at Mutual of Omaha, on Monday, June 16, 2014
Your best bet is to develop a functional resume that highlights your area(s) and depth of experience. You still list your jobs but it helps minimize several transitions.
Real Time Web Analytics