how should your resume list a bunch of different jobs at the same place?

A reader writes:

I have just over three years of work experience with the same organization. Within this time, I’ve been promoted internally (very similar position, with “senior” in the title) and then transferred to an international office (very different job responsibilities, but with the same title I had following my promotion).

I am applying for graduate programs for fall 2017, and almost all applications ask for a resume. How do I format a resume so that it both showcases my achievements but also makes it clear that I’ve remained with the same organization. Should I list the positions as three separate jobs or combine them?

I get versions of this question all the time, so let’s make it into its own post.

You have a few different options. You can do it like this, which often makes sense if the jobs had similar responsibilities:

Teapots Inc.
Senior Teapot Painter, May 2015 – present
Teapot Painter, August 2013 – May 2015
Teapot Coordinator, January 2011 – July 2013
* accomplishment
* accomplishment
* accomplishment

Or you can do it like this, which is especially the right choice if the jobs were pretty different:

Teapots Inc.

Senior Teapot Painter, May 2015 – present
* accomplishment
* accomplishment
* accomplishment

Teapot Painter, August 2013 – May 2015
* accomplishment
* accomplishment
* accomplishment

Teapot Coordinator, January 2011 – July 2013
* accomplishment
* accomplishment
* accomplishment

Or, instead of these options, some people do completely separate listings for each, but for employers who aren’t reading carefully, that can make it look at first glance like you were jumping from company to company (and not everyone reads beyond that initial glance):

Teapots Inc., May 2015 – present
Senior Teapot Painter
* accomplishment
* accomplishment
* accomplishment

Teapots Inc., August 2013 – May 2015
Teapot Painter
* accomplishment
* accomplishment
* accomplishment

Teapots Inc., January 2011 – July 2013
Teapot Coordinator
* accomplishment
* accomplishment
* accomplishment

{ 47 comments… read them below }

  1. Dealthwiththis*

    Do you have thoughts on how this differs on LinkeIn? On my resume, I would list it as being at one company with multiple jobs underneath but on LinkeIn, I typically see people listing all of their jobs, even if they were at the same company, as separate. Is there a preferred method?

    1. Blossom*

      I’d do them as separate jobs. They are different, and it more clearly shows your career progression.

    2. sunny-dee*

      I do not have strong LinkedIN-fu, but I think that’s because LinkedIn forces you to have a new entry every time there’s an end date.

      1. Blossom*

        Yes, actually I find it mildly annoying when someone has an entry like “Head of Teapots, Teapots-R-Us, 2001-2016”, and then underneath that in the free text, it becomes clear that they have not been Head of Teapots for 15 years, but spent that time working their way up the ladder at Teapots-R-Us and may only have been promoted into that job a week ago. The end date should apply to each job, not your time at the company.

        1. Kyrielle*

          Yep. And if you actual believe they’ve spent the whole 15 years in that role, when really they’ve had it for 2-3 after moving up, you can also end up with the false impression they’ve been ossifying there, and end up wondering if you’ll have to hire their desk chair along with them because they’ve grown into it or vice versa.

    3. Diluted_TortoiseShell*

      I actually list my linked in like the resume above. Basically I create one “job” and then I use the LinkedIn formatting codes to list all the other jobs below. Link to follow.

  2. Persephone Mulberry*

    And it kind of sounds like what you really need is hybrid of the first two options.

    For the roles that were similar, mostly a title bump, I’d use Alison’s first example. Then (or rather above, if it was the most recent move), separate out “Senior Teapot Coordinator, [Location]” with its unique bullets.

    1. Anna*

      It seems that this would most accurately capture the situation, but would it be confusing to combine two of the roles and then have the third separate? Would that look sloppy/inconsistent?

  3. Mike B.*

    It sounds like OP has had two titles and two jobs, but the change of responsibilities didn’t line up with the change in title. I’d go with

    Teapots, Inc.
    Senior Teapot Painter, May 2015-present
    * accomplishment
    * accomplishment
    * accomplishment

    Senior Teapot Painter (June 2014-May 2015), Teapot Painter (Sept. 2013-June 2014)
    * accomplishment
    * accomplishment
    * accomplishment

      1. NutellaNutterson*

        Particularly if you add the location to the most recent one, it would highlight why it’s being bulleted separately.

  4. Blossom*

    Yes, since two of yours were the same job title, I’d say keep them separate too, and put the location and/or department in brackets. Your bullet points will show how your responsibilities and accomplishments were different.

  5. I'm not a lawyer, but ...*

    Mine is the first example, but reads like “Design skills and attention to detail led to a promotion to Teapot Painter in 2013; award-winning design that netted $52 gazillion in sales resulted in my promotion to Senior Teapot Painter two years later.” Although my example is from a very very long time ago and might be leaving my resume soon.

  6. Amber Rose*

    What if you add titles? I was in charge of one thing and now I’m in charge of three things. Three completely different things.

  7. RVA Cat*

    Quick question – what do you do when you were with a company for 10 years but they had 2 mergers? The main company kept the same name during the 2nd one, but my division changed its name (actually they combined – i.e. Teapots of America Earl Grey, because Earl Grey had the better brand in the industry).

    1. Jen RO*

      I’ve usually seen people add an explanation in parentheses:

      Teapot Designer at Teapots Inc. (formerly Cups and More) – if the name changed while you were employed there
      Teapot Designer at Cups and More (now Teapots Inc.) – if the name changed after you left the company

      1. Snorlax*

        I’m wondering how to handle my situation. I worked for Teapots, Inc. for many years. Then they merged my department into Teapots Unlimited. Teapots Unlimited was a new company formed by the merger of two full companies, plus my department. So I can’t say “Teapots Unlimited (formerly Teapots, Inc.)” because Teapots, Inc. still exists as a separate company.

        I could just list Teapots Unlimited as a separate listing, but my accomplishments at Teapots Unlimited are the same as at Teapots, Inc. because I literally do the same job it’s the same clients. I’m not sure how to make this clear on my resume.

  8. nerfmobile*

    In 6 years at my company, I’ve just moved to my 4th job title. The 2nd was merely a change in level so its reasonable to group 1 & 2 together and the 4th is a manager role so I do want to separate it out. But I’m not sure if I want to distinguish the 3rd with its own entry or not – it’s an individual contributor role, but a high-level one that is considered a leadership position in my org even if it’s not a manager. The scope of responsibility is different from 1&2, so I’m inclined to break it out. That would mean my resume would look something like:

    Riceland Rice Arts

    Rice Sculpture Manager, 2016-present
    accomplishment, accomplishment, etc.

    Rice Sculpture Architect, 2014-2016
    accomplishment, accomplishment, etc.

    Principal Rice Sculptor, 2012-2014
    Senior Rice Sculptor, 2010-2012
    accomplishment, accomplishment, etc.

    1. Kyrielle*

      Yep, I would! The scope of responsibility being different alone would call for breaking it out; add the fact that it may be recognized as a leadership position (depending on how precise to your organization the title is) and it’s really to your advantage to break it out.

  9. twice_actingdirector*

    I just posted about this in the open thread. looking for advice on an interim role – which I’m currently holding for the second time in two years (interim director). Should my double stint as interim be listed twice even if the duties are basically the same? Currently I’m covering a maternity leave, before it was a vacant position if that’s relevant. The first time was also for a longer period of time (7 months) this time it will likely be 3 months.

  10. KatieKate*

    Similar question–I was promoted (got a title change) one month before I took a job in a new department. At the same time, I’ve been helping my old department as they try and find someone new. Best way to structure?

    Teapot Designer October 2016-Present
    Senior Teapot Maker Sept 2016-October 2016
    Teapot Maker Sept 2013-Sept 2016

    I think that looks totally odd. Any suggestions?

    1. harryv*

      I would just skip it or put as a subpoint under Teapot Maker that you were made Senior title a month prior to the Designer role.

    2. Kyrielle*

      I’d list it that way but with all the bullet points for both the Teapot Maker roles under the Teapot Maker one.

      Teapot Designer (October 2016-Present)
      * Duties / accomplishments

      Senior Teapot Maker (Sept 2016-October 2016)
      Teapot Maker (Sept 2013-Sept 2016)
      * Accomplishment
      * Accomplishment
      * etc.

      But that’s just because I think it will both make it easier to see you were promoted, but not give too much extra space/effort to the one-month position.

  11. danr*

    My situation was similar and I took the second route. The ‘stealth’ promotions didn’t come every year, but did come with increased responsibilities and changes of direction. I took a twisty path through my company and it was interesting.

  12. SoCal Kate*

    I’m always confused what to do when you are forced to have separate entries for each job on a web form. I’m between jobs, and have been volunteering, and just recently took on a new, unrelated position with the same organization. My resume looks like this:

    Teapot Office Volunteer (Sept 2015-Present)
    Teapot New Volunteer Coordinator (July 2016-Present)

    But I never know how to format it for those forms that make you fill in dates and titles for each job separately. I’ve just been using the Teapot New Volunteer Coordinator title and listing the dates that I’ve been volunteering for the organization, but it’s annoying.

  13. Saturnalia*

    I have this issue too, glad to see all the examples since I’m trying to get my resume back into application-grade shape. For me, it’s a whopping 7 titles in 5 years at a company, in 2 different functional areas (Teapot Support: agent to lead to manager; Teapot Product: intern to research to associate to manager). This company is my first experience in the Teapots industry, so I feel like I have to make it count.

    My question is about combining Team Lead and Team Manager, maybe not even mentioning the 3 months I spent taking calls? Similarly, is it better to not mention being an intern, and maybe roll up Associate Manager into the manager timeframe?

    I’m trying to figure out how to tell a good story, and not sure if employers would be more interested in someone who gets noticed and fills needs while rapidly advancing, or someone who has solid experience in a few functional areas (both are true for me). I welcome thoughts and feedback!

    1. Jen RO*

      I would keep everything, it shows that you were valuable enough to promote several times. Maybe skip the responsibilities and achievements for the short-term or less important roles, to save space.

  14. nekussa*

    I’ve been at my company over 26 years. My earliest work here wouldn’t really be relevant to a new employer since I do a lot of computer work and technology has definitely changed! How would you suggest handling that on a resume — focus on the last few years and then just sort of tick off a list of previous titles?

    1. Volunteer Enforcer*

      I’d list your years of employment next to the employer name, then focus on the most recent experience most relevant to your candidacy. Some people even have a long master resume that includes every detail, then pull out the most key ones when applying.

  15. Volunteer Enforcer*

    Yeah, I list my similar situation in the third way Alison suggested, since I was initially a volunteer split between departments, then quit one, then was offered two separate paid jobs.

  16. Miss Elaine E*

    I am a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) working for an outplacement firm. At a recent workshop, we were advised that each position needs to have the employer listed with it in order to register correctly on Automated Tracking Software (ATS) systems. Therefore:

    Big Kahuna Teapot Maker, TeapotsRU, 2010-Present
    Associate Teapot Maker, TeapotsRUS, 2005-2010
    Entry Level Teapot Maker, TeapotsRUS, 2000-2005

    That’s just what we were told, based on the latest ATS software capabilities.

    1. Recruit-o-rama*

      Ehhhhh….Applicant tracking software programs are all so different and a lot of them are customizable per the clients specific needs. For example, our ATS would take any of Alison’s examples and parse the data into the correct fields. I have used roughly a dozen different ATS programs with various types of customization and most of them would parse any of Alison’s examples properly.

      Personally, as a recruiter for many more years than I care to admit, I prefer example number two in Alison’s response. It makes it very clear that you have both stability and moved up within the organization; both of these are desirable traits in a candidate. I don’t prefer the third example, not because I don’t read carefully, but many of my hiring managers do not read carefully.

      1. RN Resume*

        Greeting! Prefacing my comment here by acknowledging the age of this post. However it has helped me tremendously and I’ve been looking back over it for the past week as I’m trying to overhaul my resume. As a RN, this issue has made my resume look like a job hopping fool while in truth I’ve been with two organizations for 5 years combined in different roles – progressive in leadership capacity. Recruit-O-Rama, thank you so much for bringing that ATS comment to light! that’s further for me to consider. Do you blog or write yourself? I hope somehow you’re alerted that I’ve reached out. Askamanager – thank you for all of your incredible posts and thoughtful responses. The unique situational examples help in so may ways.

  17. cheeky*

    Thank you for this! I have moved through 5 levels the chain of progression in my job classification in 4 years, so this is helpful. I’ve always been at a loss, though, to list my achievements because my work isn’t really quantifiable that way. I have responsibilities as part of my role, and I can list those. But I can’t state things like, “Created new teapot manufacturing methods” or “reduced teapot manufacturing waste by 15%.” Any advice for how to reframe your work duties as accomplishments?

  18. Christopher Tracy*

    I use the second format for the jobs I’ve held at my current company and the ones I had at Evil Law Firm because the roles were all different (and the jobs at my current company even deal in entirely different niche industries to boot). But like was pointed out above, this format comes out wonky in the ATS systems out there, especially Taleo. I always have to reformat the job history section when filling out online applications. It’s annoying.

  19. Lewna*

    I’ve been at the “same” job for 3.5 years, but within that time frame, my company got bought, then that company got bought, and my job title changed 5 times without much real change in job duties. There was one actual promotion in there, but the rest of the job title changes are just due to department restructuring. I’m really dreading figuring out how to list this on my resume when the time comes. I don’t want to list the companies separately because it will take up major real estate on my resume and make me look like more of a job hopper than I am. I’m trying to think of something like:

    Big Teapot
    My employment was transferred from Little Teapot to Big Teapot via company acquisition.
    -Senior Teapot Manager
    -Senior Teapot Lead
    -Teapot Assistant

    I would leave out Medium Teapot’s acquisition by Big Teapot entirely. And I would omit the minor job title changes. I am really not trying to hide anything, I just want my resume to highlight my accomplishments and not read like a grand saga of company acquisition.

    Yea or nay?

  20. Lyssa*

    I’m also about to start sending applications to grad schools, but I’m having trouble figuring out how to format my most recent jobs.
    During the summer of 2016, I worked at a summer camp as a counsellor. Shortly after that position was done, I started working at a retail company as a cashier. This past summer, I took a leave of absence from the retail job and returned to the summer camp, but this time at a higher-up position with completely different responsibilities. I returned to my retail job again and have recently received a promotion to part of the leadership team, in charge of promotions and marketing. How do I reflect these changes in my resume?

  21. Vicki Tessla*

    As a recruiter, I completely agree that option 2 is the best. As annoying as it can be to think that someone’s held the same job for many years, when actually they’ve held many different titles, it’s even more annoying to think they are a job jopper what actually they’ve had a really great tenure with one employer. My only correction would be that if you’re listing a single employer, and multiple titles or roles, I would put those in chronological order, rather than reverse chronological order. Different employers, reverse chronological. Within the same employer chronological.

  22. Melissa*

    How do you suggest doing this when you are in the same position, just are promoted up the grade ladder? I have worked one job in my 9 years as a Fed, but I started at a GS-7 entry level, and have been promoted non-competitively up the ladder to a GS-13 senior expert position. Additionally, I do many of the same tasks I did at the GS-7 still (approve travel, order office supplies) but also more senior duties like “advising directors as an SME” or “independently composes correspondence to members of Congress” so I’m not sure how to break it up into different sections.

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