I thoroughly enjoy my current job and learn from it every moment. I have been at this job for almost 5 years. Due to family issues I am looking for job overseas and have been applying to vacancies.

When I write a resume to fit a particular job posting, I mention the things I did in my current job, and it takes up a good page.

Problem is, I barely have anything to write for my previous job. After I graduated college I was selected to work for a major government agency where the job was permanent, the pay was good, but I spent most of my time twiddling my thumbs. I did this for about 5 years.

How do I reflect my first job out of college? So far I have mentioned the job location, title, start and end dates, and only one task that I have done, in one line.

How do I address this in a resume?

  • 2
    I'm slightly confused. Was the government job covered by an NDA or something where you can't talk about it, or it was just so boring that nothing happened in 5 years? Aug 1, 2014 at 23:24
  • @MattGiltaji --- I was part of gov't scholarship program that guarenteed job in agency after graduation, as long as I can maintain TS clearance, and most stuff was contracted out .... I even asked for work .... I was quite immature and didn't realize that I can study for certifications and actively look for jobs elsewhere .... circumstances made me change jobs after 5 years .... blessing in disguise I suppose ...
    – Glowie
    Aug 1, 2014 at 23:25
  • @Glowie So it's more like "stuff I can't talk about" rather than really "did nothing"? Or did you have some sort of coordinator role (which an employer might very well find to be a useful skill, depending to some degree on your line of work)?
    – user
    Aug 1, 2014 at 23:26
  • 1
    @MichaelKjörling - I "did nothing" at an organization that did "stuff I can't talk about"
    – Glowie
    Aug 1, 2014 at 23:27
  • 1
    1. Government job descriptions are usually pretty extensive. I guess you never bothered to read yours; 2. It is just incredible that you did nothing but twiddle your thumbs for five years. The NYC city government workers I used to know as a consultant were pretty hard working. If the bottom line is that you have a pretty contemptuous attitude toward government work, then finding something to put into your CV - that's your problem. Aug 2, 2014 at 1:36

1 Answer 1


I suggest that you read or reread the government's job description for your previous position and use the description to add a couple of lines in your CV as filler.

If an interviewer asks you what you did there, say it in one or two sentences and say that while you were successful in the position, the work was routine. Then change the subject and bring the focus back to your current job.

Usually, interviewers will be far more interested in what you are doing in your current job than in any of your previous jobs. While I appreciate your honesty with us and am admirative of it, stick to the script when asked about the previous position and don't say anything that will cause the skeletons in the closet to rattle. If they don't rattle, the interviewers will quickly lose interest and quickly move on on their own. Under normal circumstances, it'll be a miracle if your interviewers pay any attention to what you did ten years ago.

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