Should I put a job outside of my field on my resume?

A client who took a job in the hospitality industry in a lower-level role than he would like asked, "I wish that I would’ve chosen something that wasn’t service industry related. Yes, my benefits are good, but I knew when I took it that it would just be a filler job and I wouldn’t put it on my résumé. Not quite sure what to do."

Fortunately, this client is wise enough to ask me rather than just assuming that he should keep it off his resume. He truly doesn't want it on the resume but in his case, it could be an asset.

The roadblock of a job outside of my field

When we wrote his resume, we identified he is a relationship builder. He is also very innovative in problem solving, seeing ways to resolve customer service issues to benefit both the customer and the company.
This is my response:
I would put it on your resume. Start thinking out of the box about what you learned:
  • How to provide exceptional customer experience
  • When to offer more services
  • How to be intuitive about customer needs
Get the idea? You have pigeon-holed the job as a filler when it can be a learning experience to provide you with skills you can use in any industry.

How can you use a job outside of your field?

Be imaginative and think carefully about the skills you are using in this job that you think are not on your career path. Especially when you are a young job seeker, there are many potential opportunities to show how this seemingly unrelated job can still fit your goals.

What about experienced job seekers?

While a resume is a marketing document, you can find value in jobs that you think don't fit your career path. Deep analysis of the potential uses of the skills you learn in the job you picked up between opportunities can still have value if you think hard about how you can apply them.

I had a client selling a life insurance product but his expertise was in technology sales and that is where he wanted to be. He was worried about selling experience that wasn't a fit. This is what we wrote:

Marketed health and life insurance products negotiated to reward the health-conscious with lower rates.

  • Finished in Top 30% of Account Executives in the company in 2019 by deploying an effective follow-up strategy.
  • Earned #1 Sales Executive on the sales team for the first three months of selling life insurance.

But we opened the resume with a branding statement and target in the technology sales arena:

Accomplished Technology Sales Leader and Deal Closer with a keen understanding of the market dynamics impacting growing sales. A record of success of increasing revenue by winning competitive bids and developing strategic partnerships.

Excel in learning new technologies and product lines, adopting them into sales initiatives driving millions of dollars in revenue, and training sales professionals to replicate.

Expert in integrating sales efforts with broader sales goals to identify untapped opportunities and craft cohesive strategies with distributed sales personnel.

His Results:

I wanted to let you know that I landed a job with ABC group.  At plan, my on target earnings is $180K+ and most reps make well over $250 K!!!
I wanted to thank your hard work in rebuilding my resume from scratch and redoing my LinkedIn profile.  It had a huge impact as one in five times I would get a response back from a company I applied to.  Before it was closer to one in twenty and that one company was not the most desirable.
Having this new tool allowed me to have numerous interviews with great companies.  I became very selective on which company I chose.   I actually turned down three job offers as I felt it was not The best fit and I could find something better.  
Thanks again for all your help.  I don’t think I would be starting this new career on Tuesday if you had not helped shaped the story I wanted to tell! 

My expertise is in asking questions that help career seekers to see their value and showcase the right information on their resumes. Are you ready to get started? Learn more about packages and pricing here.

FREE Job Search Tips by email

Should I put a job outside of my field on my resume?

About Julie Walraven

You quickly see why my unique interactive coaching and strategic resume writing process isn't a cookie-cutter solution. You and I create your personalized job search strategy and define your value and showcase your accomplishments in your resume, LinkedIn profile, cover letters, and so much more.