I finally have a job.
November 14, 2008 6:02 PM   Subscribe

Should I put my new job working as a cashier at a small shop on my resume?

I have a master's degree, and some pretty good professional work at a couple non-profits. However, I haven't been able to find a job in either the non-profit world or in the field my master's is in (training & development). In the meantime, I've found a job at a small shop - yay for a paycheck! But, do I put this job on my resume? It's not exactly the kind of professional work experience that I think potential employers in my field would really care about. And if I don't put it on my resume, how do I explain the gap in my work experience?
posted by All.star to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You'll usually cater resumes to specific businesses (or business types) to highlight the skills you have which they are looking for, and omit the ones they could care less about. Sometimes that means you delete entire jobs in an effort to keep your resume down to one page.

That said, if there is something positive you can communicate about your cashier job like a skill you think will help you elsewhere, do it...
posted by wfrgms at 6:13 PM on November 14, 2008

i wouldn't (and don't) put that kind of thing there. it's not relevant, and smells like weak resume-padding. if anyone asks about the gap, you just tell the truth. say "i was working at [retail job] to pay the bills while looking for a position in my field." i have a hard time imagining anyone who would find that unreasonable.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 6:17 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Some companies will ask you what you did during the time off - at this point you should talk about your small shop experience. But this is part of the interview process...as noted above your resume would be targetted to whatever company you are applying to and as such you would include or not include this on the resume itself based on the position.
posted by Nixie Pixel at 6:50 PM on November 14, 2008

I have made versions of my resume that have all of my jobs listed, but the retail jobs got only a cursory listing. Just the where and when and position held, while the relevant stuff got a fuller description. It allowed me to close gaps, but took up very little space.
posted by stefnet at 7:04 PM on November 14, 2008

Even with this just being a "bill payer", it doesn't actually hurt you to mention it in the interview, if you put it in terms of what you picked up while there, like "warm customer care" and "dispute handling". It's a good way to show you're scrappy and self-development focused.

Additionally, the hiring managers at a couple of my past companies liked when people presented the positive side of an otherwise non-ideal situation; people who brought up development gains from lower-tier jobs avoided it being perceived as a sign of incompetence or immaturity.

Including it in your resume the way stefnet recommends is a great way to be a completist without shooting yourself in the foot.
posted by batmonkey at 7:17 PM on November 14, 2008

I would put it on your resume. I think it is better that you show that you were doing something with the time off.

Employers understand that it is not a piece of cake to find the perfect job, and I think they will appreciate that you were doing something productive, rather than just sitting around.

Plus, they will ask you what you have been doing since the last job you list on your resume. If I were you, I would rather it be out there, rather than having to explain, and then having to explain why you did not put it on your resume.
posted by junipero at 7:34 PM on November 14, 2008

Unless you want to work in retail, I wouldn't put this job at the top of your page. Assuming your resume is chronological, that's where it would land.

Personally, I'd drop it. It's not relevant to your work.
posted by 26.2 at 11:13 PM on November 14, 2008

A few other thoughts... You could, rather than going completely chronological, group your work experience into two categories, listing the relevant stuff first and the "filler" stuff after, in the cursory way that I described earlier.

I think batmonkey is correct though, that sometimes this seemingly non-relevant work can work in your favor. For example, one of my retail jobs involved my running a store, completely alone. I can't be certain, but I'm sure that hasn't hurt in the past to show that I'm a pretty trustworthy person that doesn't require a lot of babysitting, which are attributes that employers in any industry would find appealing.

Just remember that there is no law in how you write your resume! Craft it so it plays up your best qualities and experience.
posted by stefnet at 4:44 AM on November 15, 2008

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