“Should I include this irrelevant work experience on my resume?” “Is this skill worth adding to my resume?” These are questions you might ask yourself before you begin job hunting.
It can be challenging to determine what to include in your resume — it is, after all, the first thing your recruiter sees. Hence, you would want to grab the recruiter’s attention as much as possible.
As such, it is tempting to include everything on a resume to impress the recruiters with your work experience and skills but you may want to refrain from doing that — especially if you’ll be adding irrelevant bits that may not do you any good.
At the end of the day, the recruiter looking at your resume wants to know that you have the necessary skills and experience to contribute to the company. Including unnecessary information may cause the recruiter to skip over the section or, in the worst-case scenario, skip your entire resume.
Having said that, this doesn’t mean you should automatically exclude all irrelevant work experience and skills from your resume. While you would want to make your resume as relevant as possible to the job you’re applying for, there may be some occasions where adding irrelevant work experiences or skills may help.
Here’s how to determine when you should include them:
When you should include an irrelevant work experience
If you’re a fresh graduate with minimal experience
If you have just graduated and are struggling to find enough relevant bits to add to your resume, then, by all means, include the irrelevant experience.
There may be a chance that the recruiter may feel that a particular skill from your experience will contribute to the job.
If it adds value to you as an employee
Do you think the experience makes you a more valuable employee? While it may be irrelevant to the job position, it can signal the recruiter that you’re a valuable employee, increasing your likelihood of landing an interview.
For instance, some extracurricular projects may not provide the relevant experience the job requires, but they can be appealing and attention-grabbing to the recruiters.
If you have gained transferable soft skills
Finances Online quoted a statistic by Knowledge Enthusiast that 61% of employers value soft skills as much as hard skills. Yet, according to Monster, 87% of employers struggle to find the right employees because of a skills gap.
According to Zety, many job seekers leave out specific skills that they think are implied or unnecessary.
However, soft skills are highly transferable in the working world. If you think you have gained soft skills from a previous job that may not be relevant, include them. Many recruiters want to know about your skills — regardless of how common the skills are.
If you can prove that the hard, technical skills gained are what the job needs
With a little creativity, it’s possible to prove that your irrelevant experience offers hard skills that can be useful to the job.
Start by writing down all the skills you have gained from your previous job and see if they are worth including on your resume. Use keywords that fit the job description but make sure you are not stretching out the truth about your skills.
Ultimately, always think twice before cutting something out from your resume just because you deem it irrelevant. These bits of information may be useful to land you an interview. It also pays to research the company to identify the traits and skills they look for in an employee. Good luck!