So I've been unemployed since April and I wasn't able to get any jobs due to my visa situation. In the meanwhile, I got married and applied for adjustment of status so my wife and I get to work in the same country. I just got my work permit, and I want to apply to jobs again.

So I went to the career services at my past school and I was given the suggestion to have the top section in my work experience to reflect that I've been going through the visa process. I've also been taking online classes and learning about businesses.

New Addition:

Apr 2017 - Current

Career Development, City A, State B

• Apply for work permit and permanent residence, and maintain application process

• Complete projects on x website for y certificate

• ...

Should I include such new part or should I skip and be prepared to explain the situation when I get a call from the recruiter? Which one has more advantages?


2 Answers 2


Should I include such new part or should I skip and be prepared to explain the situation when I get a call from the recruiter?

To me, this was a poor suggestion.

What career services is suggesting isn't Work Experience and shouldn't be treated as such.

In your cover letter and during your interview mention what you have been doing since April. But don't try to fit it in as "Work Experience" - that will cause confusion and perhaps be seen as misleading.

  • 2
    I would put this info in the cover letter. If you have to fill out something for a background check, put the time in as unemployed and then put the description of working on getting a work permit in the description of duties field.
    – HLGEM
    Nov 1, 2017 at 17:28
  • Most positions don't even ask for a cover letter and they rarely get read in my field.
    – blueseal
    Nov 10, 2017 at 5:17

A resume doesn't have to include only work experience, but only actual employment should be included under the header of "Work Experience". None of your examples would qualify. In fact, even if you were doing actual work that is in line with the career you want, but you're not getting paid for it, it wouldn't go under work experience (you would put that under volunteer experience). Work is for work, and adding other things in there can be seen as misleading or even dishonest.

The classes you are taking should go under Educational experience. Including those shows that you are using your free time to improve your skills. So that's a bonus.

As for your visa, unless it would impact your ability to take a job, it's useless information that an employer isn't going to care about. If it could impact your ability to take a job, include it in the cover letter. Otherwise, leave it off altogether.

  • 1
    Although I agree with your two paragraphs, I disagree that the visa it's useless info. We all know it's easier to get a job if you already have one and we know that the longer you are out of work the harder it is to get back in. Putting the visa info in there is a great way to point out why they weren't working.
    – NotMe
    Nov 3, 2017 at 0:39
  • A resume is designed to show your skills, experience, and knowledge; specifically emphasizing those skills for the job you're applying for. Applying for a visa doesn't qualify as any of that, and including it could lead to uncomfortable questions, or assumptions. "Were you out of work because you didn't have a visa? Why did it take you so long? You knew it was going to expire, why didn't you do this sooner?" People understand looking for work, and the education work is plenty to show you weren't twiddling your thumbs.
    – Jonathan
    Nov 6, 2017 at 19:18
  • "You knew it was going to expire, why didn't you do this sooner?" Yeah, no. I have seen plenty of HR/recruiters, but no HR asks something rude like this.
    – blueseal
    Nov 10, 2017 at 5:20

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