Take the 2-minute tour ×
The Workplace Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for members of the workforce navigating the professional setting. It's 100% free, no registration required.

A lot of my experience in my field (programming) is volunteer or contractual work. For example, for a couple of years I volunteered at my university to mark assignments, on a couple of occasions I've done guest lectures. As for paid work, tutoring was the norm. Considering the difficulty in verifying a self-employed position, is this kind of experience disregarded when a potential employer is peering through resumes/CVs?

A somewhat related addendum: I own a business unrelated to my field. Putting this on a resume shows some regard of leadership, accounting, etc and other clerical skills that would be useful in any occupation. However, it is considered self-employed and has the same aforementioned issues. Is it worth putting this on a CV? Of course it's wise to put it on a CV/resume, but I'm not sure if it would make as large an impact as I would like to believe.

share|improve this question

closed as primarily opinion-based by Jim G., Jan Doggen, gnat, jcmeloni, Garrison Neely Aug 12 at 23:45

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2  
How does marking assignments or doing guest lectures help advance your programming skills? Unless an activity builds you as a character ( charity work, ect ) or builds your professional skills its best to leave it off the resume. Having your own business shows you have specfic skills and would fit in both the character and profession skill category. –  Ramhound Mar 28 at 17:39
1  
@Ramhound, to me, doing a guest lecture shows I have an advanced command of the subject material pertaining to that specific course, otherwise I wouldn't be lecturing. As for the marking, you are absolutely right, although I feel it shows some form of commitment into the discipline. That may be a stretch, however. –  riista Mar 28 at 18:45

3 Answers 3

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Considering the difficulty in verifying a self-employed position, is this kind of experience disregarded when a potential employer is peering through resumes/CVs?

When I review a resume/CV I seldom disregard anything that is written. So, from my point of view - No, it's not disregarded.

That said, volunteer work generally has less resume impact than work you are being paid for.

Being paid typically implies an obligation to complete the work, to complete it in a time period controlled by an employer, and to complete it to a quality level controlled by an employer.

While you may do your best, often volunteer work isn't required to meet those same standards, and thus is less impactful resume-wise. Those of us who have contributed as volunteers and managed volunteers have seen how some folks are "all in" while others are not. It's hard to distinguish between those based on a resume.

On the other hand, both volunteer and contract work can be a rich source of references. It's a good thing to have a supervisor on a volunteer project say glowing things about your work ethic. Working hard while not even drawing any pay is a desirable attribute for an employer.

share|improve this answer
1  
+1 - The references will be the key. –  JeffO Mar 28 at 17:33

The paid contractual work wouldn't be disregarded, in my opinion. It's still employment. The volunteer stuff wouldn't be verified as actual employment but would go towards your competency in the relevant field and as evidence of your passion for the subject.

The unrelated business might raise a concern or two though, mostly around the time it might take from your prospective employment, and whether it would cause you to lose focus. I would have strong explanations for these concerns ready when you go to interview, as you'll have to convince the interviewer that your business will not be your primary concern.

share|improve this answer

I'd expect that almost unequivocally, no it's not disregarded at all. Especially if the alternative is: "May 2011 - Feb 2012: Relishing in the freedom of unemployment while occasionally job-hunting". In other words, they want to know you're doing something to keep your skills sharp.

I would add that it could even be seen as a bonus as a sign of initiative - not many people have it in them to support themselves in that manner.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.