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Do Unrelated Jobs Hurt Your Resume?

Do Unrelated Jobs Hurt Your Resume?

Christina Macres | HRPeople

June 30, 2010

Do you have a lot of unrelated jobs on your HR resume? Many job seekers — mostly young professionals and career changers — worry that having dissimilar work experience can hurt potential job prospects. But is having several unrelated jobs on your resume really an issue? According to interviewers and hiring managers, the answer is not really — especially if leaving it off means having a gap in your employment history. More importantly, employers aren’t just looking for evidence of relevant experience, they want transferable skills — skills that hold their value across a variety of careers, environments, and positions.

So what job history should you include on your resume and what’s better to leave off? Here’s our cheat sheet for quick reference!

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What You Should Include:

1. A “Relevant Experience” Subsection

Because many of your positions have required different skill sets, it’s a good idea to group the most pertinent in a subsection at the top of your resume. Use this segment to spotlight the skills and accomplishments most applicable to the potential employer’s needs. Doing so won’t only win the employer’s attention; it will position HR keywords at the beginning of your resume, bringing you to the attention of automated resume scanners.

2. Focus on Interpersonal Skills

These are abilities like work ethic, problem solving, and communication skills. So why are these important for your resume? Because good qualities like being an excellent problem solver or time manager are universal — despite the difference between the job you’re applying for and your previous positions. Employers find value in employees who hold both relevant experience and comprehensive abilities like analysis and efficiency skills. Candidates who demonstrate these all-encompassing traits will impress employers, no matter what their past experience is.

3. Include Related Hobbies or Projects

If your resume is deficient in related work experience due to a career change or relative newness to the job market (perhaps you just graduated from college), it’s a good idea to include volunteer work, hobbies and, non-work-related projects you’ve participated in on your resume. Just make sure it’s relevant! This shows employers where your interests lie, plus that you’re passionate and driven to attain employment in your chosen career path, even in this challenging job market.

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