Your resume is a marketing tool. Think of it as a business card. When you give someone your business card, what do they see? They see your name, your contact information, what you do, and maybe a logo. Your resume is no different.
Your resume gives employers your name, your contact information, and what you do (I'd leave out the logo if I were you!). An employer needs to know quickly if you will fill their needs. So why would you list every single job you've ever held?
There are certain chapters in your past that may persuade an employer to move on and look elsewhere.
The First Job
My first job was a part-time data entry position for a company my mom did payroll for. This job is definitely not on my resume. Why? Although I gained experience in data entry and answering phones seven years ago, this job would not inspire an employer to hire me today. Unless you're an entry-level job hunter, there is never a good reason to put your first job on your resume.
This is the age of entrepreneurship. You may have been presented with an amazing position with a startup that failed within your first few months of employment. This isn't the only kind of "flop." If you stayed with an employer for less than six months and it isn't the most relevant experience for your immediate career goals, cut it from your resume.
If you were a business owner or CEO of a company and are seeking a lower level position, you will hinder your chances of being hired because you're overqualified. An employer may think they can't afford you, you may be difficult to delegate tasks to ("The Boss" complex), or you may be looking for something better on the side and leave shortly.
When you're stuck in a dead-end job, it's easy to be tempted by a change of career if it offers more money or benefits. Those positions that you take that are irrelevant to your career goals may hinder you from getting hired. Cut experience that is irrelevant to your immediate career goals to keep employers from questioning your dedication (or sanity in some cases!).
There is a myth in resume writing that you need to include your entire work history on your resume. When you're changing careers, you are better off focusing your resume on transferrable skills and including the most relevant experience. Yes, employers are concerned about gaps in employment so cut your experience carefully and rework your format to downplay the dates of employment and focus on the skills and experience itself.