3. Championing Make-Ends-Meet Jobs
We don’t need to tell you that there’s no shame in taking a gig unrelated to your ultimate career path (think: waiting tables) to make ends meet while hunting for other opportunities, or to make a little extra money on the side. Plus, your scrappiness will show future employers that you’re hardworking and ready to hustle, right? Not exactly.
“As a job hunter, you should be looking at yourself as a candidate through your potential employer’s eyes,” advises Robert Meier, president of Job Market Experts. “And to an employer, a side job is a distraction from your primary position. A Fortune 500 company simply isn’t going to appreciate your time as a night manager at 7-11.”
Instead of trying to bulk up temporary jobs by explaining how they taught you “tenacity” and “reliability,” Meier recommends minimizing such positions down to only a line on your résumé—or eliminating them altogether while bulking up your more relevant past positions. “The only time you should include a job like this on your résumé is if it furthers your career objective,” he says. For instance, a job on the sales floor in a clothing chain may be valuable if you’re applying to be a buyer for J. Crew; your time as a fitness instructor may be relevant if you’re applying for an operations position at Under Armour.
If you spent six months scooping ice cream and are now applying for a completely unrelated corporate job in ad sales, Meier recommends eliminating your make-ends-meet job from your résumé altogether. If your employment gap should come up in an interview, he says, explain that you were devoting your full attention to finding the right job in a difficult economy—an understandable excuse if it’s been 12 months or less.