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Should I List Unrelated Job Experience?

by Diana

If a person has experience in different areas of work, such as customer service representative or waitress or cocktail server, but is looking for work in the customer service field, should you still include waitress and cocktail server experience on the resume as well?

Comments for Should I List Unrelated Job Experience?

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May 13, 2008
Think Transferable Skills
by: Kathi

Hi Diana,

The answer to this question is, "It depends." You always want to give a good picture on your resume of at least 5 to 10 years of job experience (if you have that much). If you have less than that, then you really should list it all.

The thing that's important to realize is that we each bring skills with us from past jobs, even when they were totally unrelated to the work we want to do in the future.

These are called transferable skills. Transferable skills are general skills that can be useful in many different types of jobs. For instance:
  • People/communication skills

  • Ability to work as part of a team

  • Ability to work with minimal supervision

  • Fast learner

  • Organizational skills

  • Telephone skills

Do you see what I mean? Those are all traits or skills that would be useful to you whether you are a server at a restaurant or a customer service rep answering the telephone at a call center.

So, I would include the past "unrelated" jobs on your resume if you need them to round it out, but I would focus your list of job responsibilities around transferable skills as much as you can.

Alternatively, you can use the functional resume format that emphasizes skills over job experience.

Good luck with your job hunt!

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