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Does a nurse with an extensive job history over 30 years need to list all of the positions on a resume?


Dear Donna,

I’ve been in nursing for more than 30 years and have had many different positions during that time. Do I need to list all of them on resume? To do so would make my resume too long, but I’m not sure what to eliminate. Can you give me some guidelines
or suggestions?

Too Long Resume

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Too Long Resume,

For nurses who have been in nursing for some time and had numerous jobs, it is not necessary to list every job on your resume. Prospective employers are not interested in that much older detail and it can serve to overwhelm and distract them. In today’s world, less is more.

A general rule of thumb, although not a hard and fast one, is to go back about 15 years with details: name of employer, job title and several bullet points highlighting accomplishments and more significant experiences. If you’ve been at the same job for more than 15 years as many nurses have, then just list that employment with details. In this case, you can list a few prior positions in chronological order by simply stating the employer’s name and your job title but without bullet points if it is longer than 15-20 years ago. The older the position, the less detail that is required.

Once you’ve done the above, you can add one sentence to the bottom of the “Experience” section of your resume that says something such as, “Prior to this had extensive experience in several major medical centers.” This implies there is more work history without clogging up your resume with ancient history. If the employer wants more detail, they’ll ask.

If you worked in a specialty that is not captured in the last 15-20 years of experience you do list, and think it is relevant to a position for which you are applying, you can always mention that in a cover letter or in an interview.

Best wishes,


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By | 2014-10-23T00:00:00-04:00 October 23rd, 2014|Categories: Blogs, Nursing Careers and Jobs|0 Comments

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