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I graduated from University a few years ago. During my time at school I completed the co-op work placement program. This means I had several short term jobs (4-8 months).

After graduating I have had a lot of trouble obtaining a full time permanent position. I have worked in several short term contracts that have been related to what I studied and in the field I'd like to find a permanent job in. Aside from these jobs, I have done other jobs (such as retail) for the source of income.

My resume and LinkedIn profile are messy with so many short term jobs. For example on LinkedIn I have 10 different jobs dating back 10 years, and this isn't even with the ones I did just for money. How can I fix this? Is there a particular way to consolidate jobs? For example lump all the ones I did through the school's co-op program into one, or lump all of the jobs of a particular type (e.g. IT support) into one?

Ideally with a resume I could target it and leave out less relevant experience, but I find with lots of job openings (especially at the entry level) they are very generic and I don't know how to choose what to leave out? I guess typically it goes by chronological order, but there's other considerations like I worked for a fortune 500 vs a startup that failed.

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While a LinkedIn profile is typically broader as compared to a traditional resume / CV (tailored as per the job requirement), it's still a way to have a first impression of you and to know/ understand your key expertise, experience and proficiencies.

Go by the rule of relevancy.

  • For the jobs which are related to your future work aspirations, list them all individually. Also add a brief about the experience, learning and accomplishments.
  • For the jobs that are comparable but not directly related to the domain / technology / industry you want to work on, mention the timeline and if more than one successive gigs are there, you can combine them. List the valuable learnings that can be used for your future jobs.
  • Finally, group together all the other jobs which were just means of paying the bills and have no significant impact on the future job search.

However, keep one thing in mind - the learnings / gathered experience from each job is valuable, and you need to find a way to demonstrate that those learnings can and will help you to perform your job in the new role in a better way.

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  • Ok thanks. By "club all other jobs" does this mean leave out or group together in one? I'm not sure I understand "club".
    – BeActive
    Jan 12 at 7:04
  • @BeActive Yes, group them together in sections like pro bono, volunteering, community service - as applicable. Jan 12 at 7:09
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Well ... "as Fate has dealt her cards to me, over quite a number of decades" ... it so happens that I have never had "any single chronology." Instead of working at one place over a sustained period of time, my duration at each of them has typically been short. And, they have often been overlapping.

As I now present myself to present prospects, I don't present "a chronology." Instead, I present "just a sentence or two" about each one: what they presented to me, and what I did. Then, I invite anyone who's interested about any particular point to contact me directly.

What I strive to make clear is my "business proposition." "This is the business problem that you are right-now facing, and I'm quite sure that I can solve it, and here is why."

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If you worked at the same company multiple times for say 2 years total over 3 years, you could combine it and just put 2 years. In your actual resume you would explain it was two different times.

If you did something at one job that is in any way relevant to the industry you want to have a career in then it's fine to have it listed. Or if you just want to show what your important hobbies are and the job(s) demonstrate that. Sometimes a hiring manager will feel connected to you because you have shared experiences that have nothing to do with the job you're applying for.

Recommendations can be valuable if they are from people the hiring manager thinks are important so don't forget to ask the right people for recommendations. And a short job that is with a well respected company or demonstrates good character on your part is fine as long as you left it on good terms. You just got out of school and the hiring managers know that.

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