I'm from a country where its not unusual to have 'informal' jobs. We make money, don't pay taxes, its easy to get one. But later it comes back and bite us back.

I'm 38 years old and applying for a position to work abroad, so I can not just say these things and expect them to believe.

How can explain in my CV that I only had 2 jobs, with 5 years experience each?

Can I turn the fact that I don't jump from job to job every couple years (which is also common around here) into something good?

Also, i was writing an 'About me' text to quickly introduce myself before diving into details.
Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

Like many in the IT field, i'm self taught in several areas, acquiring technical knowledge through work experience.

In the past decade I've been actively working with the following technologies, both in Windows and Linux environments:

  • dns: dnsmasq
  • load balancing: haproxy
  • log auditing: elastic, logstash, kibana, rsyslog
  • mail: cyrus, postfix, zimbra
  • monitoring: zabbix
  • orchestration: puppet, hiera, vsphere
  • packages/keys: apt-mirror, reposync, sks
  • web server/proxy: apache, nginx

As any IT Analyst knows, scripting is a big deal in our daily routine. To perform and automate tasks in hundreds of VMs i had to learn at least the basics of many script languages, like:

  • bash/sh
  • javascript/jquery
  • php
  • python
  • ruby
  • vba/vbs

Besides the work experience mentioned above, the workplace experience i gained working for those companies helped me develop non-technical skills like:

  • commercial awareness: studying and understanding how the businesses work
  • maturity: being able to see the world out of my own bubble
  • problem-solving: with the experience comes the chance to be proactive
  • self-reliance: you can trust me to finish a task independently
  • teamwork: we all have our limits, and team members can help and rely on each other for support and guidance

Forgot to mention a few things that might be relevant:

  • I do know everything I put in my resume. I never lied.
  • both jobs were/are very well paid and in big companies (10,000 employees)
  • in the first one they offered all training necessary to work in the IT Security field
  • the second one trained me to work with infrastructure
  • 6
    I'm having a hard time understanding what your actual problem is. It sounds like you're saying that you've had two (real) jobs, for five years each - a total of 10 years of experience. That sounds fairly normal and not problematic. I don't understand why you couldn't just apply for jobs requiring 10 years of experience in the skills you've used in those jobs.
    – dwizum
    Feb 3, 2020 at 14:56
  • what would you answer if the recruiter asked something like what did you do before?, or why did you start working so late in your life?
    – RASG
    Feb 3, 2020 at 15:07
  • 5
    So the "real" jobs started when you were 28 or so? A lot of people are kicking around grad school and then doing this or that until almost that age. Other people are in the military, on the edges of professional sports, trying to make it big as actors or musicians, going in one direction and then changing course. In the western world in the current times, 28 is not old. Anyway, you can just say you started working in this field 10 years ago. I think you are over-thinking it.
    – Damila
    Feb 3, 2020 at 15:31
  • Depending on where you're moving to, a question like "why did you start so late in life?" may be considered discriminatory - many employers will refrain from asking anything even remotely discriminatory, so you may never get that question in the first place.
    – dwizum
    Feb 3, 2020 at 17:48

3 Answers 3


I'm from a country where its not unusual to have 'informal' jobs. We make money, don't pay taxes, its easy to get one.

Why is this a problem from a resume perspective? Resumes don't usually include information about whether you paid your taxes. Are you afraid of your government reading it and collecting back taxes from you?

How can explain in my CV that i only had 2 jobs, with 5 years experience each?

It depends on where overseas you are applying, but as long as you can otherwise fill the space, it's not expected for the applicant to list all their past jobs.

I've had 8 jobs in my life. Only 4 are currently listed.

I am not sure this is a concern or something you need to address before you are certain it is a problem.

  • Are you afraid of your government reading... no, not really. it was just background information, to explain why i started late.
    – RASG
    Feb 3, 2020 at 15:12
  • 1
    To add to this: the jobs a potential employer will be most interested in will be the recent ones (because how you're doing right now says something about how you might do in the future; more so than what you were doing 20 years ago) and jobs that are related to the one you're interviewing for. So if you're interviewing for a software developer position, your college job as a pizza delivery guy isn't really relevant.
    – ObscureOwl
    Feb 4, 2020 at 13:06

How to make it not sound bad?

Why do you assume it'll be bad? What matters is your claim about your knowledge and expertise and whether you're able to produce results / exhibit capabilities in the interview.

How can explain in my CV that i only had 2 jobs, with 5 years experience each?

That's an information, and needs to explanation. Yes, if you have a long gap between two jobs, you may need to explain why that gap is there and what you did during that time - but otherwise, the fact that you had two jobs, 5 years each, needs no explanation.

Started working late in my life. How to make it not sound bad?

Your age, has nothing to do with your overall experience. Many people change their career track for multiple reasons, like boredom, late realization, disabilities - there are many reasons. Unless the job you are applying for has a requirement for certain age (or range), it usually does not matter.


As you asked in comments:

I'm worried about questions like "what did you do before?" or "why did you start working so late in your life?" but there is no gap between the jobs.

Usually, that's none of their business (unless you were in Jail or something like that...), but if it's asked, tell them about your experience which you gathered from the part-time gigs. Every experience, however small it is, counts. It may not have direct connect with the technology / domain / industry, but each of them comes with some form of learning - punctuality, teamwork, efficiency, salesmanship - you'll surely find some positives from your previous job experiences to add to this.

Nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to hide.

  • 1
    i'm worried about questions like what did you do before?, or why did you start working so late in your life?. but there is no gap between the jobs.
    – RASG
    Feb 3, 2020 at 15:10
  • @RASG Usually, that's none of their business (unless you were in Jail or something like that...), but even if it's asked, tell them about your experience which you gathered from the part-time gigs you did. Nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to hide. Feb 3, 2020 at 15:12

As a frame challenge, you're overthinking this.

  • Potential employers usually won't know how old you are, unless you tell them. Someone who appears to be in their 30's and has 10 years of solid job history wouldn't really stand out from the pack. If the interviewer even thinks about your age, they might as well just assume you're 32 and started working at 22, fresh out of college.
  • Many people only list the most recent, or most-relevant jobs on their resume. If someone does ask about what came before your 10 years of history, you can just say "I was working unrelated jobs." That's not really unusual in most cultures - many people work odd jobs (fast food, retail, factory work, call centers, etc.) before they find their first "professional" office job.
  • In much of the world, age discrimination is illegal. You haven't told us where you're trying to move to, but, in the US for example, employers will generally hesitate to say anything even remotely related to age in an interview, for fear of being sued because of age discrimination. In other words, no one would ask you why you started working so late in life, even if they'd managed to figure out your age.

Ultimately, the important thing is: do your research, and apply for jobs where you are able to meet the qualifications. If you have 10 years of experience, look for jobs asking for people with 10 years of experience. Yes, some of your "competitors" for those jobs may be younger than you, but others may be older. People take many paths in life, and not everyone of the same age has the exact same job history.

  • 1
    I think you assume that OP does not apply in a country where people have to provide their birthdate or picture on the CV.
    – guest
    Feb 4, 2020 at 6:16
  • @guest sorry, I don't know where you're getting that from. I literally said, they won't know how old you are unless you tell them so I think the situation where it would be typical to include a birthdate would be addressed by that. Do you think there would be a way to improve this answer?
    – dwizum
    Feb 4, 2020 at 14:05
  • I am sorry if I misunderstood. I interpreted the first point as if it was a rare situation that employees know the birthdate, whereas in all countries I know it is a total must which can/should not be avoided to provide it.
    – guest
    Feb 4, 2020 at 16:04
  • 1
    No worries. I think my overall point was basically this: Don't focus on the negative. Focus on finding a job you are eligible for, and talking to the employer about why you are eligible. Having 10 years of relevant experience should be good enough to get a job requiring 10 years of experience, regardless of how old you are.
    – dwizum
    Feb 4, 2020 at 16:09
  • 1
    Yes, I totally agree.
    – guest
    Feb 4, 2020 at 16:11

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