on your resume, which comes first — job title or company name?

A reader writes:

On your resume, should you list your title first, or the company name?

I’ve always put company name first, but I’ve seen a ton of templates (including examples in your archives) that show one’s title coming first. What do you prefer to see first? How do you apply the “title first” concept when you’ve held multiple positions with the same company?

There’s no rule on this; you can do it however you want.

That said, your resume will often be more compelling if you put the emphasis on your title, because in most cases employers will care more about what you’ve done than who you did it for. So depending on your resume’s format, that might mean putting the title ahead of the company name, or it might mean bolding it, or both, some other way of putting the emphasis there. For example:

Llama Cuddler, Llamaville Adventures, June 2015 – present

Llamaville Adventures, Llama Cuddler, June 2015 – present

There are some exceptions to this, like when an employer is particularly prestigious. But generally — and especially when your employers aren’t widely known names — it doesn’t make sense to emphasize Llamaville Adventures, which few people have heard of, over llama cuddler or IT director or whatever it is you did there.

But you’re right that it gets more complicated if you’ve had multiple positions with the same company. You could separate each role out into its own entry, but if you do, people who are skimming quickly (which is a lot of people reading resumes) may miss that you had a long tenure with one employer. In that case, it can make sense to do it this way:

Llamaville Adventures, January 2012 – present
Head of Sales, June 2015 – present
Llama Cuddler, March 2014 – June 2015
Acorn Sweeper, January 2012 – February 2014
* achievement
* achievement
* achievement

Or in cases where the roles are quite different and you want to separate out your achievements by role:

Llamaville Adventures, January 2012 – present
Head of Sales, June 2015 – present
* achievement
* achievement
* achievement
Llama Cuddler, March 2014 – June 2015
* achievement
* achievement
* achievement
Acorn Sweeper, January 2012 – February 2014
* achievement
* achievement

Whatever method you pick, though, just use it consistently throughout (even in jobs where you didn’t hold multiple titles) so that it looks uniform and polished.

Other resume questions? Feel free to ask them in the comment section. (I can’t promise I’ll have time to answer everything, but I’ll get to what I can.)

{ 258 comments… read them below }

  1. hayling*

    I’m so used to seeing it company first, then title. I agree that company is more important, but to me this is convention. And with a resume, you want your info to be easy to find!

    1. Hills to Die on (formerly AMG)*

      I’m a project manager and I could have been a LLAMA CUDDLER this entire time???

      1. Sarah G*

        This. I could not possibly express how happy the job title, “Llama Cuddler” makes me!

      2. Mayor of Llamatown*

        What luck! Llamatown is looking for a head of our Llama Cuddling division!

      1. SusanIvanova*

        Every software resume I’ve seen has been company first, because our titles are all vague things like “staff engineer”, so the title doesn’t tell us as much as knowing where you were when you did it.

    2. ThatGirl*

      Yeah, mine is set up like Alison’s second example, because I held five different positions at the same company over 9 years and it just made more sense to me. It’s actually like this:

      Llamaville Adventures, Chicago, IL 2008-2017
      Llama Wrangler, Llama department 2013-2017
      *achievement, etc
      *achievement, etc.
      Llama Feeder, Llama department 2010-2013
      *achievement, etc
      *achievement, etc.

      (with bolding/italics as needed for visual clarity)

      1. Elemeno P.*

        This example was really helpful for me; I never considered putting the date at the top, and that solves my problem! I’ve been with the same company for 6 years but have had radically different positions. I had it like this:

        Llamaville Adventures, Chicago, IL
        Position 2012-2014
        Position 2011-2012

        I have a pretty good resume and niche skills, and I wondered why I was only getting a few callbacks…and then one interviewer said that they were surprised when I said I’d been with the same company for so long, because it looked like I was a serial job-hopper. Now I know!

      2. YNWA*

        I noticed that you’ve added the city and state (which Alison hadn’t). What is the norm for that? Also, if the company you work(ed) for is unknown, but its parent company is very well know (Fortune 500 etc), do you add he parent company as well?

  2. The Blueberry Incident*

    How would you list it when Acornville Printing was bought by Mapletree in 2015 and the name of the firm changed to Mapletree/Acornville? Your role and title did not change. Same location as well.

    PS, I only found this site about 6 months ago and have been a lurker till now – This is my first post! Loving all your advice and past columns, Alison, and all the brilliant comments.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Mapletree/Acornville (formerly Acornville Printing)

      Although with a combined name like that, you probably don’t even need to include the parenthetical because it’ll be clear. But if the new name didn’t include the old name, I’d do the way I have it above.

      (Also, right after publishing this, I changed all my examples to llamas — in a fit of llama love — in case you’re wondering where Acornville went in the original.)

      1. The Blueberry Incident*

        Thanks for replying! Acornville had a bigger presence and better rep than Mapletree so I wouldn’t want to leave it out. And guess what, the Mapletree owners plundered Acornville and Mapletree/Acornville is no more. Would it be awkward to add “Out of Business” inside the parentheses?

      2. starsaphire*

        I also do this on my resume, because the company was sold and completely changed names after I left — but my old boss is still there and is still the person I want them to call.

        So I use that format too:
        Great Llama Farms (formerly Alpaca City), Llamaville, CA

        (And now I want to resign my job and go find work as a llama cuddler! Pleeease?)

      3. PlainJane*

        I have a slightly different scenario–the name changed after I left. So I have: Acornville College (now Acornville State College). Hopefully that’s OK.

      4. Sylvia*

        Seconding Alison here, if relevant to anyone reading this, my university changed its name. Writing “Mapletree-Acorn School (formerly Acorn School of Blahblah)” works just fine. It does help to explain, for example, why a reference might accidentally use the company’s old name.

        1. SignalLost*

          I worked for a community college that dropped the “community” part when they started adding four-year degrees, so I’ve revised it to just say “South Acornville College”, but I’m pretty sure since the name change isn’t as extreme as your example, I’m okay. If not, someone correct me!

    2. ZSD*

      I’d probably do something like this:
      Mapletree/Acornville (formerly Acornville Printing)

      That said, if the company has plenty of web presence under its current name, and if the former company name wasn’t particularly famous, I wonder if you could just leave the old name off.

    3. Nan*

      Ohh, I had the same question, but I’ve been through several mergers. Company 1 (formerly Company 2 formerly Company 3 Formerly Company 4) seems a bit awkward.

      1. Kyrielle*

        Depends on the names and value thereof! I worked for Llamaland for a while. Then they were bought by Animals Inc which branded them Animals Inc Llama Farm. Then Animals Inc spun them off and sold them to another group, which of course didn’t want to keep the AI name and in any case Llamaland had a lot of value, so they renamed it back to Llamaland. Then they got bought by their competitor Alpaca Fields, who promptly got rid of all the Llamas and began supplying only Alpacas, and who themselves were a big name in the field.

        Rather than capture the back and forth, I went with “Alpaca Fields (formerly Llamaland)” – because Animals Inc Llama Farm was a value-less name in that space, Animals Inc _never_ found their footing in the sub-market that cared about the llamas and alpacas, and honestly most folks who remember their name remember – with utter bafflement – that they threw away decades of strong name-branding as far as Llamaland’s name. Listing them is pointless – unless, I suppose, I were ever to apply to another Animals Inc subsidiary!

      2. ThatGirl*

        I have been networking with people who were laid off from Lucent/Alcatel-Lucent/Nokia which went through several mergers and I don’t even know what it’s called anymore, officially. But it’s fairly well known in the area. I wonder how they format theirs.

        1. phyllisb*

          Yes, same thing happened to me. I was a long-distance operator (to us old-timers, that was referred to as Toll Services.) During the twenty-one years I was there, we went from South Central Bell, AT&T, Bellsouth, BACK to AT&T and now I think it’s back to Bellsouth. Job didn’t change; just who I worked for. When I went back to college, one of the requirements for one of my business classes was to write a resume, and I was trying to be correct, listing each company. My instructor kindly told to group it all under one heading: Long Distance Operator 1971-1994. Must admit it looked better, but since that (at the time) was only job I had ever had, it made for a slim resume.

        2. The New Wanderer*

          I’ve worked for several companies that had multiple name change sequences like that. Even my current job title changed from the job title I was hired under (not a promotion, they just decided that all Cuddlers would now be called Snugglers). I have to update my resume now and it’s going to be filled with parentheticals!

    4. Elizabeth West*

      My old company was bought by a very large global conglomerate, and they just added that to the name. So it went from The Teacup Makers to The Teacup Makers (Glaze, Inc.). We got lucky; we only had to add it on from that point forward and did not have to change it entirely, as we would have if it became Glaze Inc. Teacups of Doom or whatever.

      1. phyllisb*

        I want to be a Llama Cuddler! Sounds like much more fun than cat herder. A bit OT, but I’ve been to several weddings where in the listing of the wedding party will be the title of Child Wrangler. Don’t think I would want to do that for a living!! I bet some of you teachers feel like that’s your title!!

        1. Neatby*

          In the theatre world, that’s a real job! it’s the person (not parent) who monitors/supervises/supports child actors. IMO more apt than “young performer supervisor”!

          1. kitryan*

            My favorite is when the title is adapted for other production needs. On Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia you need a Turtle Wrangler.

  3. Jubilance*

    So I’ve been at my company for 5yrs, but in two very different roles. Currently on my resume I have them listed as completely different entries, along with 2 other jobs from 2 different companies. I’m wondering if I should do some type of combo like what Alison has listed above? I’ve noticed that some ATS systems don’t transfer over the info well and gets confused on the multiple roles at the same company.

    My current format is:
    Current Role – Current Company

    Previous Role – Current Company

    Previous Role – Previous Company

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I would keep a version like that for when you need to use it with an ATS that requires it, but for the version you use otherwise, I’d do it more like one of my examples above, to highlight that you were at the same company the whole time. I consider myself someone who pays a reasonable amount of attention when I read resumes, and I still have had lots of incidences of “wow, she really doesn’t stay anywhere very long … oh, wait, these are all at the same company.”

      1. Jubilance*

        Thanks! As a followup, in ATS systems should I still list the roles separately when it asks about work history? I currently list them separately and maybe I should lump them together, even though I had very different roles & titles in the 5yrs I’ve been here?

      2. KatieKate*

        Following up on this: I’ve been at my organization for 4 years, but the first job’s department is always listed as a different organization internally and externally. Basically:

        Current Role – Current Organization

        Previous Role – Other Organization of Current Organization

        I have the roles listed separately as well to try and to avoid the confusion I only list the “Other Organization” because each orgs name is soooooooooo long. Is it still better to combine?

          1. KatieKate*

            Sorry, I’ll try for more detail.

            I have my currently job and my previous job at the same umbrella organization. However, the previous job was at an organization within the umbrella organization. Should I:

            1. List both jobs as one within the umbrella organization
            2. List the jobs separately and mention somewhere that the organizations are connected
            3. List the jobs separately and not mention that the organizations are connected (how I have it now, probably not the best)

            I also got a promotion/title change at the first job (organization within the organization,) to make things even more confusing

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Oh! I think it depends on specifics that I can’t know (like how well known each is outside your org), but I’d think any of those are fine. Less so #3 if the tenures with either was short.

            2. Nonprofit Lady*

              I actually have a situation very similar to this, where I had different positions within 3 different arms of a nonprofit, all at different locations, within 3 years. Further complicating things, I think many people don’t realize these orgs are all under the same umbrella org. On my resume I have them listed as:

              The Do-Gooders, Los Angeles, CA – 2011-2014
              Program Assistant, The Food Pantry – 2011-2012
              Administrator, The Community Outreach Center – 2012-2013
              Program Supervisor, The Homeless Shelter – 2013-2014

  4. ruff orpington*

    How would you suggest to list intermittent freelance/consulting jobs? I consult for one company on the side, and would like to highlight my projects with them. My time with them overlaps other full time jobs, and is also on and off– where should it go in order (generally most recent first)?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      This is hard to answer without seeing exactly what kind of dates we’re working with for everything that’s on there. Can you do a sample of what it looks like, like Jubilance did above?

      1. ruff orpington*

        Sure! I want to try to figure out how to highlight certain projects with the freelancing, while still showing the general career progression. I currently have it in a separate section with ‘other projects’, but I’m not sure that’s appropriate

        Potions Researcher II – Hogwarts (2016-present)
        * achievements

        Potions Researcher I – Ministry of Magic (2013-2016)
        * achievements

        Potions Intern – Durmstrang (2012-2013)
        * achievements

        Freelance Potioneer – Weasley Wizarding Wheezes (2014-present, intermittent)
        * special project (2015): super fancy antidote discovery
        * other projects

        1. Nathaniel*

          List it as a consultant using reverse chronological order, just like the rest:

          Potions Researcher II – Hogwarts (2016-present)
          * achievements

          Consultant – Weasley Wizarding Wheezes (2014-present)
          *Antidote discovery

          Potions Researcher I – Ministry of Magic (2013-2016)
          * achievements

          Potions Intern – Durmstrang (2012-2013)
          * achievements

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I did this, and it looked weird because I only had one, and it ran concurrent with my last job. So it was

            Big Dishes & Associates
            Crock Pot Assistant
            Jan 2013 – Nov 2016

            WeRunWebsites Corp.
            Recipe Writer, weirdfood.com
            Dec 2010 – Jan 2012

            Teacup Makers Inc., (Glaze Inc.)
            Teacup Assistant
            Dec 2005 – Jan 2012

            Dirty Teacups, LLC
            Teacup Assistant/Marketing
            July 2003 – Aug 2004

            I moved it to a separate freelance section so now it’s like

            Big Dishes & Associates
            Crock Pot Assistant (higher level job)
            Jan 2013 – Nov 2016

            Teacup Makers Inc., (Glaze Inc.)
            Teacup Assistant
            Dec 2005 – Jan 2012

            Dirty Teacups, LLC
            Teacup Assistant/Marketing
            July 2003 – Aug 2004

            WeRunWebsites Corp.
            Recipe Writer, weirdfood.com
            Dec 2010 – Jan 2012

            I wanted to have a separate place for the freelance stuff, in case I pick some up while I’m still looking. Is that bad? I feel like I look pathetic for only having the one.

            Oh, I didn’t put “Recipe Writer, weirdfood.com (Elizabeth West)”, even though I wrote them under my pen name and not my real name. Should I? I do have a link to my portfolio on my resume, at the top, and the portfolio has a sample.

            1. Sylvia*

              Anyone whose career trajectory takes them from the Ministry to Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes is good in my book.

  5. ms42*

    If your education is the strongest point in your resume, is it okay to put it at the top when you completed your BA a dozen years ago? (I went to a public Ivy, but have done mostly call center-type work since then; I’m now applying for jobs that require a BA.) My employment history is stable (everything is 2+ years) but the type of work is unimpressive.


    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think you’re right on the cusp of when it’s getting too long ago to lead with. You can probably do it for a while longer, but once you’re at ~15 years out, I wouldn’t.

      In general though (for other people reading), lead with work experience, not education.

      1. ms42*

        Thank you so much! I really appreciate the guideline, and hope that I won’t need to even consider it after my next job.

        If you have time, in this instance would you recommend leading with work experience or education? I unfortunately know a lot of people my age/a few years younger who face a similar quandary based on the job market.

        Thanks again!

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I think if you feel like the education is stronger/more compelling for the jobs you’re applying for than the work experience is, you might as well take advantage of the remaining time when you can still list it first!

      2. Just Another Techie*

        How would you do it if your degrees are seperated by a gap of many years. Mine, for example, is

        Senior Potions Researcher, Ministry of Magic 2014-present
        Potions Researcher II, Ministry of Magic, 2012-2014
        Masters of Potions and Alchemy, Durmstrang, 2010-2012 (with attendent TA, RA, and summer internships)
        Associate Potions Mixer, Weasleys Wizarding Wheezes 2008-2010
        Freelance Potions Supplier 2006-2008
        Junior Potions Ingredients Acquisition Agent, Madame Higgledypink’s Tonics 2005-2006
        Bachelors of Potions, Hogwarts, 2000-2004 (at this point I’ve dropped my internships and such from undergrad from my resume and just have the one line listing my degree and year earned)

          1. Just Another Techie*

            If I remove the degree years, and move my education section to below employment, I assume I should keep my TA/RA/internship experiences from 2010-2012 in the work experience section so I don’t look like I had a big employment gap, right? And at this point, should I keep the education at the top or move it down? I’ve had lots of work experience, but my most recent degree was only five years and one job ago.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Not to nitpick, but a genuine question—would you keep all the summer internship/TA/RA information for your Masters?

          (e.g., I wouldn’t, but it looks like Potions Research might care about your in-school research experience, even five years out.)

          1. Just Another Techie*

            I’m keeping them for now just so it doesn’t look like I had a two year employment gap. But after I move on from Ministry of Magic and am employed at wherever comes next, I plan to take them off.

      1. Thlayli*

        Is there a difference? I just thought resume was the American term and cv the British/Irish term. I didn’t think they were two different things?

        1. Undine*

          A CV and a resume are substantially different in style and content. A CV will contain a LOT more detailed info, usually a lot longer and covers things like publication, awards, education etc. It’s more of a static detailed record and less of a marketing document than a resume, which is typically more concise and focused on the parts of your education and employment history that are most relevant to the position you are applying for.

    2. Julianne*

      Related to education: Is it weird to take my BA off if I have two advanced degrees that are specific to my field and my BA is unrelated? I have a BA in political science, and two graduate degrees in education. I teach elementary/ESL. I’ve been told by hiring managers in the field that they do want to see my education, but can I drop my BA from the list?

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        How long ago did you receive it? My inclination would be to drop it, because in theory, you probably needed a bachelor’s degree or equivalent to enroll in your advanced degree programs, no?

    3. Ellen*

      As someone who also graduated from a public Ivy twelve years ago, I don’t think you should lead with that. I’ve found that people are generally unimpressed with my education except to note that I did graduate with a Bachelor’s degree (and occasionally to comment on the major, which is unrelated to my field).

      And, a stable work history is impressive in itself! A lot of people don’t have that.

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      “The condition is a result of the llama imprinting on its human handlers to such a degree that it considers them to be fellow llamas.”

      This kind of made my day

      1. Sylvia*

        The term has been overused, however, and is sometimes inappropriately applied to llamas with aggressive personalities that are not truly “berserk.”

        Wouldn’t want to armchair diagnose berserk llama syndrome!

      2. Alicia*

        Kind of made my day too. Until I realised the male llamas wanted sex with humans (as they thought them to be llamas). Kind of creepy, right? Not sure the llamas understand about consent :(

    2. Birdbrain*

      Oh my gosh, I just read the name of the article and am choking with laughter… trying to turn it into a coughing fit.

      That would make a memorable item on a resume. “Reduced incidents of Berserk Llama Syndrome by 25% in one fiscal year…” I’d interview someone with berserk llama experience!

      (Berserk Llama Syndrome would be a great band name. Someone please get on that!)

  6. Kate*

    How can I tailor my resume to get a job as an actual llama cuddler? I have semi-related experience as an amateur dog snuggler, and I think my skills would transfer nicely.

    1. Hills to Die on (formerly AMG)*

      yes! I am not ashamed to admit I occasionally wake up spooning my Doberman. He’s a fantastic little spoon. Am I oversharing??

    2. VivaVirago*

      I am considering a career switch from accountancy to llama cuddling. The cover letter is currently just a lot of doodles of me cuddling llamas, but clearly I need to be building my skills by cuddling other furry mammals.

      Side note: Wikipedia tells me that the scientific name for a llama is ‘lama glama’, which just makes me really happy.

  7. Not Karen*

    If you got your degree in a country with different degree conventions than the one you’re working in, which conventions should you use to name the degree on your resume?

    I got a MSc in Canada, but I’m from and work in the US, where this degree is called an MS.

    1. VelociraptorAttack*

      For this I would just spell it out, so instead of MSc or MS, put Master of Science.

    2. Channel Z*

      I have a MS, but I spell MSc now that I’m in Ireland. Also thesis here is for both Masters and PhD, but in US it’s a Masters thesis and PhD dissertation.

  8. Government Worker*

    I have a job from 10 years ago listed like the first example here, where I held three positions in 4 years. It’s frustrating when I need a 1-page resume and I’m tight on space, though, because only the most senior of those positions is really relevant to anything at this point in my life. It only really needs to be on there because it counts as “years of experience” for government job qualification purposes, so I’d love to find a way to list it more concisely without being confusing or inaccurate. Any ideas?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      If you’ve been out of school for 10 years, you can have a second page. Or is there a specific reason you need to keep it to one page?

      1. Government Worker*

        Hmm. Maybe I don’t need the 1-pager any more. I went through an awkward stage where I only had enough solid, relevant stuff for like an eighth of the second page. It just looked like I’d screwed up the formatting so I tried to keep it to 1 page. My current job has probably taken care of that and I have enough material for the second page to make it look okay now, but I haven’t updated my resume since that happened.

  9. k*

    Question! Does it look strange if one job listed has a lot more bullet points than the others? I did a career change with my current job, so the things I do here are a lot more relevant to jobs I’m applying for that my past positions. Right now I have 6 bullets for my current job, 4 from the one before that, and 2 each from the jobs before that. I don’t like how disproportionate it looks, but I also don’t want to throw in irrelevant information just for the sake of it.

    1. Lisa B*

      Nope, especially if you’re pulling out the most relevant information/achievements from those jobs. My first job was a call center rep, and there’s only 2 bullets there. My most recent job was in the same industry as my dream job, so I had a lot more information about my achievements that would be applicable to dream job. And it must work, because I’m writing this from the dream job. :)

    2. Government Worker*

      I have something similar, and I’ve separated it into two sections “[Industry] Experience” and “Other Experience”. I think that makes it easier for someone reading my resume to understand what they’re seeing quickly and why I have more detail under some things than others. The Other section still has relevant skills and experience, but each thing in it is much shorter.

    3. Jadelyn*

      Mine is the same way – my current job is my only HR-specific role, so it’s got the bulk of my bullet points, while the general admin positions prior each get a couple bullet points that are specific to that role and company (like managing the bid binders when I worked at a general contractor bidding on federal jobs, for example, or wrangling external auditors at a medical malpractice insurer). Especially since there’s a lot of overlap on my past positions – receptionist stuff stays pretty consistent from place to place, you know? – it seems fair to have that proportionate emphasis on the interesting/relevant stuff.

    4. Elemeno P.*

      I have 0 bullets for one position on my resume. The work I did in it is irrelevant to my current work, but it’s there because it was the first 8 months at the company I’ve been with for 6 years. It also looks good because it shows that I worked my way up in the company, which has been a point in quite a few interviews.

  10. rozin*

    What would you recommend if you start a position as an “assistant” but then get a promotion and title change, but no change in salary/work scope? So say after joining a company as “Assistant Llama Cuddler” and then getting promoted to “Llama Cuddler” but with no change in duties (just title), is it necessary to separate the two out or just put the time as “Llama Cuddler.”

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      You should list both titles so that you’re not making it sound like you had the higher title the whole time. So like the first Llamaville Adventures example that I have in the post.

    2. Lisa B*

      I’ve done it almost exactly the same as Alison’s example above:

      Llamaville Adventures, January 2012 – present
      Principal Llama Cuddler, June 2015 – present
      Llama Cuddler, March 2014 – June 2015
      Junior Llama Cuddler, January 2012 – February 2014
      * achievement
      * achievement

  11. BioPharma*

    On LinkedIn, is it okay/ethical for the top listing to say

    Head of Sales, Llamaville Adventures, January 2012 – present

    and then in the plain text:
    Head of Sales, June 2015 – present
    Llama Cuddler, March 2014 – June 2015
    Acorn Sweeper, January 2012 – February 2014

    I just hate separating out the positions, because then the first impression (without scrolling down) is that you were only at that company for 2 years instead of 5 years.

  12. ICUUC*

    When you’re in a position that doesn’t have hard numbers to use for achievements (raised income by 10% or whatever), how do you phrase achievements so that they don’t look like you made them up? (A la “works great in a team or independently”). For example, my managers praise my professionalism during communication with clients, which they say is something that can’t always be taught and is a very valuable skill. I’m not sure how to phrase that as an achievement, or even if I should. But that sort of thing is really the only thing I can come up with as an achievement since I don’t have concrete numbers or awards.

    1. cleo*

      Not to get OT, but I have something like “regularly recognized for ability to give constructive feedback” which is resume speak for “all of my colleagues would ask me to talk with the difficult students”. And it’s absolutely an accomplishment.

  13. OP*

    I’m so glad you added in formatting!! I currently have mine as:

    Head of Sales, June 2015 – present
    * achievement
    * achievement
    Llama Cuddler, June 2012 – 2015
    * achievement
    * achievement

    I should probably switch that around to put the emphasis on the title :)

  14. LAC*

    How would you handle it when your company was bought by another, larger company and you switch jobs to work at the larger firm? Keep them as separate entries? Group them all under the second company’s name even though the original company is still doing business under their original name?

    I was a Gazebo Strategist at Gazebo Trust when they were bought by Backyard Advisors. After the merger, I took a job as a Advisor at Backyard. Even though the entities are still run separately, this is essentially an internal transfer and a fairly significant promotion. I also used a fairly specialized skill set at Gazebo whereas the work I’m doing for Backyard is more generalized. I’m not sure how to best frame that on my resume. If it’s helpful, I was at Gazebo Trust for 2 1/2 years before the transfer, so I don’t think it would look too much like job hopping if I kept them totally separate.

  15. July*

    Any tips for structuring a resume for someone changing careers? I graduated with a BA, spent ten years in sundry admin roles, and then went back to school for a second degree and plan to do something entirely different. I’ve volunteered in my new field pretty extensively. Too weird to lead with education and volunteer work?

    1. Government Worker*

      I did something similar – went back to grad school to change industries in my early-mid 30’s. Coming out of grad school I had internship and similar experience in my new field so I put education at the top, followed by a section for “[Industry] Experience” with my internships and volunteer work and then one titled “Other Experience”. It makes it clear why random internships and stuff are near the top while the pre-grad-school 4-year full-time job with progressive responsibility is near the bottom.

      1. TheAssistant*

        That’s really helpful! I’m in the midst of a career transition and my current role is a bit of a hybrid “almost in my desired field but not quite”. I plan to go to grad school at some point to flesh out the “not quite” aspect, but do you think I could categorize my current job as [Industry] Experience when the time comes? Or should I just call the section Relevant Experience and list Other Experience later?

        1. Government Worker*

          I couldn’t say without knowing more detail, but mine is actually [Industry and Related Industry] Experience because one of my internships and some of my grad school work was in Related Industry, and with the specific terms involved it makes sense and doesn’t look weird.

          I’m a fan of using sections to make my resume make sense. For a while mine was Work/Volunteer, and then a few years later it became Industry/Other. Use whatever headings make sense to group your experience logically so someone reading it can easily figure out the important bits and have a basic sense of where you’re coming from.

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      I have a section after “Experience” which is called “Community Service and Pro Bono.” When I first started out, half of my relevant work experience was from the volunteer work and half was from paid work (and hiring managers told me that having the volunteer work on my resume helped me make it to the interview, whereas they would not have called me in based on work experience, alone).

      Now that I have more relevant work experience, I either omit the community service section, or I pare it down based on whether it’s useful/interesting/important for my overall application.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        … and I just realized this is answered downthread. Please disregard!

  16. Dealtwiththis*

    Can this model apply for listing positions on LinkedIn as well? I’m proud of the tenure that I’ve held at my company but due to changing roles multiple times, it looks like I’ve only been here for a year upon first glance. Could I simply list all of my titles and accomplishments in the summary section under my most recent title?

  17. GiantPanda*

    What if you changed zoos but not job titles?

    Head of Llama Breeding, Tinyzoo
    – successful breeding of one male and two females, resulting in three baby llamas
    Head of Llama Breeding, Mediumzoo
    – responsible for breeding group of five males and sixteen females
    Head of Llama Breeding, Bigresearchzoo
    – successful crossing of black and white llamas, resulting in new panda llama subspecies

      1. Goggles Paesano*

        How would one organize this when the job duties are identical? I had two identical entry level jobs at two companies and no real accomplishments that differentiate between the two.

    1. Katelyn*

      I want to see the panda llama sub-species! (runs off to google if such things exist)

  18. I Want to Tell You*

    How many years is it appropriate to list your graduation year on your resume? I graduated with my BA in December 2006 and didn’t attend grad school. I also had a service industry survival job for 13 months between college and getting my first professional job. (I got my first professional job in May 2008.) I have it included to explain the over 1 year gap between college and my first pro job; how long should that job stay on my resume? It’s irrelevant to my current career.

    1. Fabulous*

      I’d think you could leave it off altogether, as well as your service industry job (if you still include it). I graduated in 2007 and the first job on my resume starts in 2009. By leaving the date off, you’re erasing any questions of “why is there a gap here?”

      1. MissMaple*

        If you have a more recent graduate degree (2016), but graduated with a bachelors much longer ago, would you typically keep both and move it back to the top?

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          I do this, but only because lawyers are stupid about this sort of stuff. For non-law/academic jobs, I drop the BA.

          (And for I Want to Tell You, I second Fabulous—I think the B.A. from 2006 and service job can be dropped entirely.)

          1. MegaMoose, Esq.*

            Now that I’m five years out of law school I’m experimenting with putting my education at the bottom so my better experience can fit on my first page, but I still feel nervous about it. I don’t think I’ll ever take the BA off, though, even if it is (gulp) 12 years old now. Lawyers be stupid and all.

  19. Liane*

    Variant on the multiple positions at same company:
    I still have my original title & its duties but also a new position with a new title & new duties. (Yeah, it’s odd but it’s a very small game company.) Should I stick to the typical style for this?
    Llamaville Adventures, 2008 – present
    Llama Cuddler, 2008 – present
    Puppy Herder, 2013 – present
    *achievement 1
    *achievement 2
    *achievement 3

    1. Red Reader*

      I worked as a teapot painter for a year and a half, then was promoted to the sugar bowl painting team lead, but I still work ~10 hours a week as a teapot painter in a supplemental/hourly position (above and beyond my normal salaried position). Currently listed like so:

      Teapots, Inc — January 2014 to current
      Sugar Bowl Painting Team Lead – January 2016 to current
      Teapot Painter – July 2014 to current (continued part-time supplemental after January 2016 promotion)
      Tea Packet Stuffer – January 2014 to July 2014, contracted through Coffeepot Staffing


      1. Red Reader*

        (Sorry, I didn’t mean to post that as a reply to you! Though I guess it’s similar.)

  20. Resume Rhonda*

    Question: What’s the balance between listing achievements on a resume and matching relevant experience with a job posting?

    The advice for using resumes to list achievements suggests to me that our achievements are fairly static. We accomplished what we accomplished at each job and that’s it. However, aren’t hiring managers also looking for people who can perform the tasks listed in the job description? Should we be tweaking our list of achievements based on the tasks in each job we’re applying to? That focus has gotten away from me as I’ve read through the Resume topic archive, and I appreciate any clarification provided.

    1. ICUUC*

      I wonder about this too. Because many times someone can tell me their job title and list some accomplishments, but I still have no idea what they actually do at their job. Job titles can be pretty meaningless sometimes.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        One good way to handle that can be to have your first bullet point summarize what your role is all about, and then follow that with bullet points about accomplishments.

  21. Fabulous*

    I’ve been working for about 10 years and have two full pages to my resume. The first page is solely Employment History (listing 5 positions held since 2009) and the second page has Other Experience (listing my nonprofit involvement), Education, and a section I titled Certifications, Training & Technology.

    I’ve been trying to condense it to one page by removing my “Other” section and also removing a couple of the positions held. Should I even bother? How would I switch things around if I were applying to nonprofits instead of the field I’m currently in, especially since everything fits *just* right as it is? Would it look weird if I combined my jobs and the nonprofit volunteer info?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I wouldn’t list your volunteer work with your paid jobs (not unless they were full-time). I’d still do Employment, then Community Involvement (for the volunteering) but just list the most relevant, compelling stuff in the latter. And some Certifications, Training & Technology sections are useful but others aren’t, so I’d look at that with a really critical eye.

      1. Fabulous*

        I have three things listed in Community Involvement: I’m VP on a Board of Directors for a local community theatre where I manage their website, communications, and graphic design (as well as a gamut of other things); a 3-month internship where I worked part-time during grad school doing event planning for a conference; and a short stint where I consulted on the start-up of a local teen center. To me, the VP position would be the more important/relevant thing, but maybe not to others?

        I hadn’t even thought to remove the Certifications, Training & Technology section… but you’re totally right. Aside from some specific sales software (which I can list in my bullets) and Photoshop, it’s mainly normal software one would have experience in.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yes, the VP position and maybe not the others — unless you’re applying for job doing event planning or starting up a teen center, in which case those are back in the game.

  22. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

    I’m certainly not going to be looking anytime soon, but since the topic is on my mind, how would I handle it when I have three different applicable titles?

    My company separates out job title vs. person’s rank title, and in addition, I have my professional title as conferred by the relevant regulatory agency. So simultaneously I am a Llama Grooming & Bathing Specialist (job title), Junior Llama Caretaker (company rank), and Licensed Llama Care Agent (professional title). How/where do I reflect these differences?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Use the job title as the job title. I don’t think you need company rank at all. Include the Licensed Llama Care Agent in a bullet point where it’s relevant.

      1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

        Makes sense! The company title mainly serves to keep consistency across different super-specialized job areas, as far as I can tell.

    2. ZSD*

      I agree with Alison that you’d normally leave the company rank out, but I think if you’re applying for a new position at the same company, including the rank in parentheses could be useful. I did that when I worked at a university:
      Llama advising specialist (Llama officer II)
      I leave off the llama officer II part now that I work outside that university.

  23. Miss Swiss*

    I worked at Chocolate Teapots Inc for about three years until I moved out of state. My boss wanted to keep me on remotely, but HR (I think) didn’t want to deal with out of state taxes and such. We ended up coming up with a compromise where I would continue doing my job as a contractor through a staffing agency. I think it speaks of my work that my boss really wanted to keep me on, so I hope that shows in my resume!I am looking for a new job now. My resume currently looks like this:

    Teapots Technician
    Chocolate Teapots Inc, Tea, South Dakota, March 2014-February 2017
    Teapot Staffing, telecommute, February 2017-present
    *Transitioned from full time employee to a contractor position after moving out of state

    Is this a reasonable way to have it?

    1. Courageous Cat*

      Mine says this too. My company relocated me to a different state to take on 3 additional stores and everyone kept telling me that it would be such a great opportunity for my resume (not sure that this ended up being particularly true), so this is exactly what mine says as well in the first bullet: “Transitioned into ___ district and was relocated to ___ to take on 3 additional stores”, and then the rest is normal stuff.

      The only time I have found this to be a problem is when doing online applications that use your resume to auto-fill the fields, and then it says that first bullet point under “duties” when obviously it’s not a duty. So there’s that, but otherwise it seems to have been fine.

  24. Elizabeth West*

    Llama cuddler, LOL. That could be a real job. FYI–panda nanny is a real job. You would have to move to China, however. If I spoke Chinese, I would totally do it for a year or so. You get to play with and snuggle baby pandas all day. That’s the job, to entertain them!

    I often wonder about really strange job titles like that. Once at NonProfitJob, my boss got a resume from someone who used to work at Subway, where they call the folks who make your food “sandwich artists.” She thought it was a joke until I explained to her that it was a real job title. Can you imagine putting panda nanny on your resume?

    Or for a dancer–google Weirdest Video You Will Ever See on YouTube.
    “I have X years of experience in modern artistic surrealist dance.”
    “That’s great; you got a sample?”

    1. Hills to Die on (formerly AMG)*

      OMG. Too bad I just changed my user name, otherwise it would definitely by llama cuddler or panda nanny.

  25. dinasore*

    Reality check?
    Until a year and a half ago, my professional career was almost exclusively for one company where I started as office manager, became director of operations, then transferred to director of administration. I did a LOT of very disparate kinds of things so I divided my resume up like this:
    -Project & achievement
    -Project & achievement
    – senior leader at ABC Nonprofit, supervised up to 40 employees in X and Y departments
    -founding board member at LMNO Nonprofit
    – change project #1
    – project #2
    – Wrote & managed grants up to $X
    – Events that I managed and what they raised
    – Managed social & web yada yada
    – bunch of bullet points about things I updated and/or improved

    EDUCATION, CERTIFICATIONS, & APPOINTMENTS, with a bunch of various things including a law enforcement appointment
    EMPLOYMENT & VOLUNTEER HISTORY, listing the various titles at my company.

    Does this seem reasonable? I often see people poo-poo functional resumes but it’s a lot of really different stuff. And it’s 2 pages. Does anyone think I should organize it differently? Thanks so much!

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Noooo, don’t do it. That’s a functional resume and hiring managers hate them and it looks like you’re hiding something.

      You need to list your job, employer, and dates, with bullet points underneath about what you did there. But those bullet points can be divided into project management/change management/and the other categories you have here.

      1. dinasore*

        Even if the work experience section clearly shows the job titles and dates? I don’t understand how that would look like there’s something to hide. I’m not trying to argue, I just don’t really get it. Thanks

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yep. Because it’s not clear where or when you did all the stuff you listed in the earlier section. It’s got to be connected to specific jobs with specific dates.

  26. Eric*

    Do you need to have periods at the end of the bullet points under each job? Do they need to be complete, grammatically correct, sentences?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      No and no. But whichever way you choose (bullet points or no bullet points, complete sentences or not) needs to be consistently the same throughout.

  27. Starkitten*

    What if you’ve worked for two subsidiaries (each of whom have their own HR, tax ID, etc.) that roll up to the same master company? For example:

    Llama Acquisitions Specialist, Llamaville Purchasing Services, 2011-2014
    Llama Herd Management, Llamaville Breeding Systems, 2014-present

    Both are subsidiaries of Llamaville Adventures Corp.

    Also, would your answer change if I’d worked for a subsidiary and then the master corporation?

  28. DecorativeCacti*

    I’ve only worked for two companies in my professional career. My previous job was retail and I do not plan to go back to that so I was going to leave it off. I’ve held four positions over nine years at my current job with increasing responsibility. Should I include the retail job so my job history doesn’t look so scant?

  29. Fabulous*

    One more question!! I recently found an article that had a “Career Note” listed for an internship. What do you think of this idea? Scroll down to the Marketing resume at this link to see an example: https://www.themuse.com/advice/this-is-how-you-spin-1-resume-for-5-different-industries

    I was thinking of incorporating this into my resume for a temp job I held for 3/4 of my grad school (that was super similar to another prior position) so I wouldn’t have an employment gap, or a redundant position listed. I’d write something like, “CAREER NOTE: Attended graduate school 2013-2015 while working temporary contract admin position at Llamaville Adventures.”

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think that’s fine to do if including it strengthens your candidacy.

      I’m not convinced it does in their example. And in their example, I’m not sure why this is better than just listing it normally, if you’re going to include it. It feels a little like “look, a new idea for the sake of a new idea!”

      But for what you’re considering, I think that’s fine!

      1. Fabulous*

        Thanks! It’s such an odd addition that I’ve never seen before, but it would definitely help condense my work experience for when I’ll inevitably need to add more bullets to my current position :)

      2. Small but Fierce*

        Only slightly related to this comment, but I noticed in the linked article that they had internship duration listed as “Spring 2014” instead of “January 2014 – May 2014.” I’m two years out of college in my first salaried role, so I still have plenty of internships to list. I always wonder if the fact that I have so many roles under a year puts me at a disadvantage, even though they were internships with set end dates. Would listing internships by semester instead of duration be advantageous in that case?

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I don’t think it really makes a difference either way, but I suppose Spring 2014 makes it clearer at a glance that it was an internship.

          1. Small but Fierce*

            Thank you, Alison!

            In follow up, my first role out of college was a full-time internship. On LinkedIn, a lot of people in that internship program will write “Teapot Design at Dream Company” instead of “Teapot Design Professional Intern at Dream Company.” I’ve waffled back and forth with this decision, but landed on listing the actual title on my resume for verification purposes. That said, would it be unethical to represent the role as the former description on LinkedIn? I currently list the actual title, but emphasize that it was a temporary full-time position in the description.

  30. Courageous Cat*

    I’m always perplexed by the idea of listing achievements vs listing job duties. I have never had a job where I had really concrete achievements – particularly, I never even had the opportunity to. I did district-level management, but there wasn’t room to, like.. “achieve” anything, really. There were no numbers or measurable statistics for me to meet/beat (we were also a failing company, so I’d have shrink goals for instance, but we never met them – through no fault of my own) and there was just nothing really measurable in general that I feel like I could put on my resume.

    So as a result, I’ve always listed my job duties and what my job entailed on a day-to-day basis. Everyone I know does this too and I’ve never had an employer comment on this, but the more I look at others’ resumes, I wonder if I should feel self-conscious for not having one with achievements on it. I ran a great team that did everything right and was well-trained, but I don’t have anything hard and fast to say like “raised sales by ___ per year” or whatever.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Achievements don’t have to be quantifiable. They’re about the difference between how you do your job and how your mediocre coworker in the same role does hers. Look at the links I posted up above to someone else asking about this.

      1. Courageous Cat*

        Ha, that’s exactly what I needed to hear, actually. I’ll take a look, thanks.

  31. Hizzy*

    Alison, do you still do resume reviews? I remember that you used to do that several years ago…

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I used to offer it once or twice a year, but I’ve been too busy so far this year. No current plans to do them this year, but that could change!

  32. Amber Rose*

    I have four titles, self assigned. I tell different people different titles depending on what I’m doing (because it confuses people when the sales person is also the safety person). Should I just pick one for my resume? My boss doesn’t care what I call myself. He once jokingly recommended Peon.

    Also, for numbers purposes, we divide our staff into four categories. I have been calling myself Office Worker, but my boss, I just learned, puts me in the Manager category. I don’t manage anyone particularly, I am a department of one, but I do train everyone/do orientation, enforce the rules and assign tasks, to a limited extent. Is that a manager? Can I call myself that?

    Although Coordinator (current title for department) is fine, Manager looks nicer.

    1. Amber Rose*

      I should note, when I say Boss doesn’t care what I call myself, I mean nobody is ever assigned a job title. I was hired as ______ and then filled in the blank myself. So is everyone.

    2. Fabulous*

      Maybe you could put something like “Manager of Sales Training, Safety, and Compliance” on your resume. That way you’d touch on everything while retaining the “manager” title. I think formatting the title this way also doesn’t imply that you manage people either.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yes that could make sense! You just need to make sure that whatever you put will be confirmed by your employer if they’re called for verification.

      2. Amber Rose*

        But I’m only manager of safety. Everything else, I am just a regular peon. =P
        But I could use Manager of Safety and just sort of clump everything else under “additional duties” maybe.

        I imagine Boss would have no problem with it.

        1. Fabulous*

          If you’re still in charge of the training and assigning tasks, I think it would still be worth it to include in your title – those duties would still be supervisory. Just run whatever you decide on by your boss first :)

          Here’s another suggestion: “Manager of Safety, Training and Compliance Supervisor”

  33. Armchair Analyst*

    I have some example resumes from a successful author who writes books on how to get a job. Sorry, not you, Alison, though I’ve asked my library! Anyway, this guy suggests putting quotes from performance reviews or clients on your resume as achievements or other successes…? This sounds crazy, amirite?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      You could do one or two if and only if they’re truly stellar. The problem is when people do them and they just aren’t impressive enough to include (and the person sounds like they don’t even know what a truly high bar is, which isn’t good).

    2. Ramona Flowers*

      I personally think it’s best to put this sort of stuff in your cover letter.

  34. KatieKate*

    I’m 4 years out of college and have been working for all of them in my field. At what point do I delete old jobs? I’ve deleted my non relevant experience (waitress, etc) but I still have a high school internship (actual experience) and a college job (semi-relevant experience). Without these, my resume is pretty short.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      There’s no hard and fast rule on this; it depends on the specifics. In general, it often makes sense not to go back further than 10 years. But I would definitely remove anything from high school.

      1. LabTech*

        Follow-up question: Does including those deleted jobs in relevant experience cause any confusion? (e.g. If I made reference to 7.5 years llama-based experience in cover letter, but only listed most recent 6 years of work experience?) And is so, are there any ways to work around it?

    2. Sutemi*

      At one point a few years out of college, the bottom of my Experience section listed all the internships together without bullets. It rounded out my experience but didn’t take up much space.

      Llamaland Engineering Summer 1999
      Prof. Dingle Laboratory Winter-Spring 1999
      Crocodile Industries Summer 1998
      Panda Patrol Summer 1997

  35. Sadie Doyle*

    Should volunteer work relevant to my field be under a separate “VOLUNTEER” header, or integrated with employment experience?

  36. Ramona Flowers*

    If you did a total career/field change – e.g. your old jobs were in teapots, then you retrained as a llama cuddler and now work with llamas – is it still worth listing achievements in your teapot jobs? Should you only list vaguely transferable ones?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      To the extent that they demonstrate that you’re someone with drive, who gets things done, or who has other qualities that would be prized in another field, yes … as long as they’re not bumping more relevant stuff.

  37. HR Hopeful*


    So I am looking to change career paths (hence the name) from Customer Service Training to someone more HR centric. I am wondering if you have any specific advice when you are trying to change careers? Would your resume stay the same and you would just mention why you want to change careers in your cover letter or would you also do something differently with your resume as well? Right now in my profile and in my job achievements, I mention my training accomplishments more than typically CSR stuff but I am not really getting any interviews in the field I want to go into.

  38. Jane Esq*

    Several years ago, I worked for my then-boyfriend’s father. He is an attorney and I was fresh out of law school, and he would have me do research and draft briefs for him. He split the legal fees with me, but paid me by writing a check to my boyfriend. Not a great situation but we needed the money. My boyfriend and I broke up and I got an actual job that I still have in a different legal area. Can I put that work on my resume as “Assistant to Bob Smith, attorney at law” or something similar? It was real work despite my lack of a paper trail to prove it. We didn’t part on bad terms but have not spoken in a long time.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Would your then-boss confirm it in a reference call? If so, then yes … but it does have the potential to get sticky if you ever have to prove the employment in a background check that wants documentation.

      1. Jane Esq*

        I think he would, he said he was willing to after I stopped working for him, though that was a while ago. I am worried about the lack of documentation though. Maybe it’s something I could explain in an interview if I’m asked about what I was doing in that time.

  39. drpuma*

    I’ve worked for some small/startup companies with non-obvious names. My resume includes a one-sentence summary of the company itself since the job titles can be similar or generic. So, for example:
    Fuzzy Wuzzy, Llamatown, CA
    Llama-breeding startup serving 30 specialized farms
    Customer Care Coordinator, 2013-2016
    * regular job stuff
    * regular job stuff

    I’m just looking for confirmation that this is a good idea?

    For consistency’s sake, should I include better-known companies as well now that my job history includes, say:
    LlamaCo, Llamatown, CA
    Fortune-50 llama farm network with 6000+ animals in 46 states
    Customer Care Supervisor
    * job stuff
    * job stuff

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      In most cases, no. Most employers won’t care much about that at this stage; they just want to know about the work you did there. If there are any where you feel the blurb provides especially relevant context that’s important to understanding your achievements there, you can weave that info into your bullet points about what you did there. But I’d get rid of the separate blurbs since they’re taking up valuable space.

  40. Resume Rhonda*

    If you temped at one company, then continued doing the exact same work (same project and everything) for a different company, how would you split the achievements between the two companies?

    I worked for an educational institution for a summer and learned that half the work was contracted out to a design firm. When my temp period was ending, I asked for an introduction to the design firm because I figured they could use the help. I started as a contractor for the design firm and eventually was hired full-time. During this time I completed the original scope of the project as well as an extension.

    Right now I have the relevant achievements listed under the temporary position with a note that it continued while employed at the design firm. Should I change it to reflect that most of the project was done at the design firm?

  41. Clumsy Clara*

    I’ve spent my career with one (very well known/prestigious) employer, but have been in multiple departments and have had different roles in each one. Any advice for the best way to format?

    My thoughts:
    Big Name Company
    Senior Teapot Associate, Teapot Handler Office
    Teapot Associate, Teapot Handler Office
    Rice Sculpture Assistant, Whole Grain Initiative
    Baked Goods Assistant, Whole Grain Initiative
    Number Crunching Assistant, Office of Numbers

    …although now that I’ve written it it looks messy. In both departments where I had multiple roles, there was overlap between both roles, but clear achievements/responsibilities for each.

    Any help anyone can offer would be appreciated!

    1. Fabulous*

      Big Name Company
      Teapot Handler Office
      Senior Teapot Associate
      Teapot Associate

      Whole Grain Initiative
      Rice Sculpture Assistant
      Baked Goods Assistant

      Office of Numbers
      Number Crunching Assistant


      1. Fabulous*

        Not loving all the bolding, but maybe you could do tabs to differentiate the levels instead?

  42. Anne of Green Gables*

    If you are going to list a Master’s degree on a resume, should you also include any earlier degrees even if you are past the acceptable time frame?

    I am in a field where a Master’s degree in that field is almost always required for professional positions. It is also very, very common in my field to get applications from people without that degree applying for positions that require the degree. For this reason, I continue to list my education even though I am coming up on the limit for the master’s and am well past it for my BA. But should I only list Master’s information? Or does it seem odd to list a Master’s and not a Bachelor’s?

    1. Lily Rowan*

      Wait, is there a time limit beyond which people suggest not listing your degrees at all?

  43. Shelby Drink the Juice*

    I have an official generic job title and then what the role really is job title – Project Engineer (official), role specific is Llama Cuddler Lead. Do I list both? Internally on the HR documents it only lists Project Engineer.

  44. YRH*

    I graduated from grad school about 3 years ago and have mainly done contract work since then (longer term contracts ranging from 4 months-over a year). What is the best way to list these positions as well as my grad schools internships without looking job hoppy? Thanks for all you do to make this website a wonderful resource!

    1. Fabulous*

      I’ve added a parenthesis next to the job titles/companies stating Lamaland (temporary contract through XYZ agency) *OR* if you’ve had multiple jobs through the same agency, you could group everything together under that heading.

  45. Astor*

    I’m 10 years into a career that has no higher education requirements. 15 years ago I left school without finishing my bachelor’s degree. I’ve been able to transfer many of the credits and am slowly completing a new degree at a different institution. If, once I graduate, I want to put my degree on my resume, do I have to put the year?

    My concern about putting a recent year is that it can imply that I’m looking to change my career direction. I’m generally willing to continue to leave it off completely because I have enough experience that makes up for my lack of degree (when they’re just looking for a degree, any degree), but I also know that having some education on my resume would make it look generically stronger.

    I’d love to hear what you think is best.

    1. Colorado CrazyCatLady*

      I’m in the same situation and I don’t necessarily want to leave the field I’m in, even though my degree would imply a career change if it seemed recent. Even though the degree isn’t an exact fit, it would strengthen my candidacy in my current field.

      I’m leaning toward not putting a year.

  46. Boötes*

    A nearby farm has llamas. If I snuck in and cuddled them at night, would that make me a llama-cuddling guerrilla?

  47. Colorado CrazyCatLady*

    I have a job that I left for another job and then returned to it. This is how I have it listed.

    Company 1:
    IT director 10/2014-10/2016
    IT Analyst 05/2013-05/2014

    Company 2:
    IT specialist 05/2014-10/2014

    It seems to confuse people though. I keep company 2 because I had some significant accomplishments in spite of it being short term.

    Is there a better way to list this?

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      I think you need to separate them into chronological order, as you would if they were different companies, or it’s confusing to read.

      Company 1:
      IT director 10/2014-10/2016

      Company 2:
      IT specialist 05/2014-10/2014

      Company 1:
      IT Analyst 05/2013-05/2014

      1. Colorado CrazyCatLady*

        That’s what I’m thinking. I think I got the recommendation originally to group it like that from Alison!

  48. Susan*

    Ooh, I hope I’m not too late to get an answer because I’ve been struggling with this… I have had two jobs, with two different employers, since graduating from college. Both jobs have the same title and very similar responsibilities and achievements. How should I handle this on my resume? Listing essentially the same job twice seems weird, and perhaps not a great use of space.

    1. Agile Phalanges*

      They’re not the same job, since you held them at two different companies. And see Alison’s response to someone else above with a few links to previous posts, but you shouldn’t just be listing a bullet point of what you DID. If it’s a job title or description that folks might not immediately recognize, include a brief synopsis, but otherwise, try to use those bullet points for things that show what you did BETTER than someone else in that role might have.

      For example, for Telemarketer at Teapots Inc, you don’t really need to describe your job much. Maybe just indicate “Made outbound sales calls to customers that indicated interest online” or something to show it was outbound and not cold-calling. Then, list a few accomplishments such as closed on more sales than others in your department, or had more long-term customers, or became your company’s retention specialist because of your way with people, or was good at training your new colleagues (see, not even call-related!). They don’t have to be quantifiable to be achievements.

  49. Cascading Carrots*

    What order should I choose when I have ongoing side jobs that are relevant but not as strong in showing career progression. For example:
    Senior Llama Advisor, ABC- 2013-current
    Llama Policy Officer, PQR – 2010-2013
    Llama Assistant, SCQ – 2008-2010
    Carrot grower, LL Ltd- 2009-current

    1. Boötes*

      I have this quandary, too. Would it work for you to have a category of Professional Experience that demonstrates career progression and one of Other Work Experience that indicates non-career-related work achievements that round out your character as well as applicable or transferable skills?

      I’m glad you asked the q because now I’m going to try it to see whether it works for my resume.

    2. Fabulous*

      The “currents” should always be at the top, the rest in reverse chronological order:

      Senior Llama Advisor, ABC- 2013-current
      Carrot Grower, LL Ltd- 2009-current
      Llama Policy Officer, PQR – 2010-2013
      Llama Assistant, SCQ – 2008-2010


      You could make a “Relevant Experience” section and an “Other Experience” section to highlight the more relevant jobs.

  50. Andrew*

    I held a position at my current company for a week before I got promoted. This is something I would like on a resume since it focused on answering phones, filing paperwork, data entry and dealing with people who came in. How do I put that on a resume?

    1. Fabulous*

      Company Name, May 2017-Present
      Promotion Title
      Front Desk Attendant

      *Promoted to XXX after successfully managing the reception desk greeting visitors, fielding ## phone calls daily, processing paperwork, and completing data entry using XYZ Database System.
      *Other accomplishments

  51. Erp*

    This is actually the opposite advice that my college career center gave me– I was told the employer name should be emphasized. (In fact when I emphasized my title I got scolded during my resume review!) Perhaps the rule is different for recent grads when your title is generally “office assistant” or “intern?”

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Nope. This is just yet another instance of a college career center getting it wrong. (And it’s ridiculous that they scolded you. There aren’t hard and fast rules on how to do this; it’s just about what will make your resume strongest. They often don’t seem to realize that either.)

  52. krysb*

    Here’s a weird one. I work at a company that loves hipster titles for certain positions, such as Culture Warrior, Director of Employee Happiness, etc. I’m inching closer and closer to starting a new position, but was told that I will have a similar title, such as “Professor,” as the manager of employee training and development and the company’s “university.” Should I use both the “Professor” title and its equivalent title?

    1. LadyKelvin*

      I would list your title which your company would say you have for a reference check, and then if it is unusual, list the real-world equivalent in parentheses. So you would list Professor (Staff Training) or Culture Warrior (Office Manager) or whatever the appropriate combination is.

  53. LazyDazy*

    Sort of a similar question was asked and answered above, but I think my situation is a little different/specific, so here goes:

    I started working as a Teapot Analyst at Teapot Manufacturer A through a staffing agency back in 2013, and was eventually hired on as a full time employee in 2015. Throughout this entire time, we suffered through a couple of departmental reorganizations, so I went from being a General Analyst to a Specialized Materials Analyst to a Final Product Analyst, (and this whole section of my resume is a hot mess as a result since my job function somewhat changed but my job title did not), where the general job function of Analyst was the same but when I was in the specialized role I had more responsibility and a more specialized job function than just any analyst.

    In 2016, it was announced that our facility (but not the entire company) was up for sale, and was eventually purchased/acquired by Teapot Manufacturer B in 2017. The majority of the employees from Teapot Manufacturer A were transitioned to the new organization and my job function essentially remained the same as a general analyst (though my title was changed from Teapot Analyst 2 to Teapot Scientist 2). This whole hot mess has me very confused about how to word any of this on my resume, because I’ve essentially been at the same place since 2013, but with three different employers (the staffing agency, Company A, and Company B). To make things more confusing, Manufacturer B has a second location across town and they are differentiated by calling one “North” and one “South” (based on the side of town they’re in) so I don’t know how to distinguish which location I work at, and that the one I work at was acquired from Company A.

    1. Abby*

      I don’t think you need to delineate location. It looks to me like the rest of your snarl is a combination of the “our name changed” and “multiple positions with one employer” questions from above. Except I guess if your new position is closer to the old General Analyst then it’s a bit of a demotion in the merger? Hm. I’m not sure that shows if you just list the titles… maybe this is a time to list the titles in order and the accomplishments separately and then the accomplishments can show your progression toward increased responsibility?

      1. LazyDazy*

        It’s a weird situation; I was still a contractor through the staffing agency with the old specialist position, but I didn’t have an actual job title, per se, since I wasn’t an employee. It wasn’t so much a “demotion” as much as a change in the organizational structure (originally, we were all generalists, then they decided to make several people specialists for certain areas, and then they decided to have us all be generalists again). And all this also happened before the purchase by Company B.

        My other concern is that, generally, when one company acquires another company, it’s pretty public in our industry (as in, everyone would know about it) but in this case, Company A still exists, it’s just this one manufacturing facility that was phased out and purchased by Company B, and I’m not sure if that’s as generally known (it’s not like I changed jobs earlier this year; I still show up to the same place and do the same tasks and work with the same people, but the name on the building, and my paychecks, has changed). How do I word this without looking like I left Company A for Company B earlier this year and am now looking for something else?

  54. Part Timer*

    Alison, if you’re still reading, would be curious on your advice on how to list a part time job. Currently working a part time job because of health reasons, but it’s not temp work, it is relevant to my field so I want it on my resume. Do I need to say on my resume that it was part time? If so, how should I indicate that?

    1. Fabulous*

      I would just add a parenthesis next to the position saying (Part-Time). I do that for the temp jobs I’ve had but I think it’d be just as effective.

  55. Librarian of the North*

    What if you’ve had 6 or 7 different titles in your time with a certain employer? My Husband worked for the same company for 10 years (non-profit stuff that depended on contracts) so he switched programs a few times and was promoted from caseworker to program manager. We listed it as you described but it looks cluttered and he didn’t get callbacks on those resumes. I’m concerned hiring managers doing a quick scan assume they are different jobs and he’s a hopper. We ended up condensing it, putting the years of his final position (5) and in the first bullet described the rest of the time as being swiftly promoted from caseworker to management. This resume has been much more successful but is it misleading at all?

    1. Fabulous*

      I think the first format Alison lists may be the best bet for your case, because it lists all the positions at the top and would be less “cluttered”. Alternatively, one of the formats I’ve used before is a two-column table, where the left column lists the company and the right column lists the different positions/accomplishments. That way each company is clearly defined, while the positions are still listed separately. Similar to the “Upfront” template here: http://www.hloom.com/simple-clean-resume-templates/ except I’d maybe list the dates with the positions rather than the company name in his instance, unless he puts the full employment dates (not just the dates of his latest position).

  56. Intern question*

    I’m probably too late, but…
    I’m currently a full-time, post-BA intern. It’s a rotating internship, so my schedule looks something like: Monday-Teapot Creation, Tuesday-Teapot Contracts; Wednesday-Teapot Marketing; Thursday-Teapot Sales; Friday-Teapot Design. I assist each department on their day of the week every week. I’m really struggling to sum all of that information up on my resume without making it half a page long! It’s like having five part-time jobs because my job duties, experiences, and achievements are different for each one, and I don’t want to leave any of them out. Any advice? Right now I just have all of the departments in the first bullet point, a list of representative duties/tasks in the second, and a few achievements after that, but it just seems really unwieldy.

      1. Intern question*

        … That seems really obvious now that you say it, but I’ve been so stuck over how to handle this that I couldn’t get there myself. Thank you!

  57. Scientist in the making*

    I hope I´m not too late! I have a question on PhD degrees on resumes:
    In an industry-targeted (non-academic) resume, do you list a PhD both under „education“ and „work experience“ or do you only mention it under one of these headings? I’m a PhD student in Europe and here we are considered full-time employees and not students, but of course the degree also justifies putting it under „education“. Many people seem to use both sections: under „education“, they list the degree and the thesis title; under „work experience“, they list their accomplishments. I would find it strange to list job accomplishments under „education“, but at the same time it feels weird to omit a PhD from the „education“ section. However, it seems redundant to list it in both places.
    Do you have any advice?

  58. Monica*

    Why would anyone want to be “promoted” from Llama Cuddler to Head of Sales? Llama Cuddler is obviously a way, way better job.

  59. Bethany*

    I could use input on a long title issue.

    I’m an Executive Assistant for the Board of Trustees of a large University but I also support two Senior Vice Presidents: one overseers External Affairs for the University and the other is the Secretary of our board (in the “Robert’s Rules of Order” sense rather than the “secretary as an older word for administrative assistant” sense).

    Here’s my “title”: Executive Assistant to the Llama Herd, the Senior Vice President of External Farm Affairs, and the Senior Vice President and Secretary of the Llama Herd.

    I like that it highlights how different my areas of responsibility are, and that I’m juggling the priorities of multiple high-level executives, but it feels unwieldy – and even a bit pompous – for a resume title line. I could just list “Executive Assistant” and call out the details in bullet points, but I worry that would get passed over.

    Am I overthinking this? Thanks in advance for the insight!

    1. Fabulous*

      Just listing Executive Assistant and bulleting out the specifics is probably your best bet, but here are a couple alternate options I can think of:
      >Executive Assistant to Llama Herd, SVP External Farm Affairs, SVP & Secretary of Llama Herd
      >Executive Assistant to Senior Vice Presidents and Farm University Board of Trustees

  60. L*

    What is the best way to list intermittent work when you were hired as a W2 employee but worked very irregular hours and sometimes had gaps of several months between projects? I did research and editorial work this way for approximately 2 years, initially as my sole job after graduation and then on the side after I got hired by another organization, but just listing the dates implies many more hours than I actually worked.

  61. Company A*


    I’m not sure how to present my CV based on a period of my job history, I’m afraid it will look like I’ve been job hopping when in reality I’ve been in the same building with the same colleagues the whole time, doing the same kinds of tasks just with different topics.

    Year 1: Started at Company A. Worked in different divisions on a project basis.
    Year 2: The division I was working for at the time formally became its own organisation, Company B. Judging by the names of the company it’s not obvious that they A and B are intimately related.
    Year 3+: Took the hint that Director of Company B was setting me up to fire me (and has done the same to all the others who have had my position afterwards), so I abandoned ship and went back to Company A where I have flourished. Company A considered me an internal recruitment. Company B’s director harassed me for a while, and only stopped because Company A intervened.

  62. Not a Job Hopper I Swear!*

    How far back should resumes go historically when there’s a lot of jobs to cover? Also, how can one condense a job history, removing irrelevant positions, without leaving noticeable gaps in employment?

    I graduated just before the recession in 2007, so my work history has a lot of shorter-termed (1-2 year) jobs as I’ve struggled to find something that pays well that is not temp work. I generally start my resume in 2009 but I’ve had 6 jobs since then and there just isn’t enough room to fit everything. I moved states in 2013 and have had 3 jobs in my new state (two temp and one temp-to-perm). It feels weird cutting out positions because that leaves some multi-year gaps, or starting only since I moved. To me that’d just raise the question of what I’ve been doing for the past 10 years (I don’t have my graduation date listed, but have “a decade of experience” referenced in my summary – I don’t want someone to think I’m right out of college!)

  63. Audiophile*

    Over the years, I’ve alternated between listing my job title or employer’s name first in my resume.

    I will say, when I made the switch from listing a slightly recognizable staffing agency to listing their large and well known client on my resume, that made a significant impact. I definitely saw an uptick in interview invitations. I made sure I was clear in interviews that I was working through an agency and made sure to have references available who worked directly for the corporation. I think these two things together made a difference, especially since I wasn’t a direct employee. That was the stage where I was basically applying to any job I could reasonably do.

    Once I re-focused my job search on roles in my field, I stopped listing my volunteer work under another section. However, I was clear throughout the interview process, that it was volunteer work and part-time work.

    More recently, I got rid of those pre-2015 jobs. I was using 2 pages for a lot of unrelated work and I realized I was taking up prime space on my resume.

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