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In your resume, is it a good idea to put an irrelevant job rather than having a long employment gap?

I just move to another country and things are very different. I keep looking for a job in my field of expertise but my actual working experience is just over a year. To support myself and my family, I took a job as a factory worker for a while. Now I am planning to apply for a job in my own field of expertise.

In this case, should I list the job as a factory worker on my resume?

  • Is this a question about what to put in your CV? I don't understand your question about the factory job. You want to find a factory job, but you say now you want to apply for a job in your field? What is your field? What do you mean "is it okay to put a factory job here?" Put it where? Can you edit your question and clarify these things. – Brandin Apr 20 '15 at 16:41
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    I agree with @Cronax, and will only add that you can/should use the factory job to your advantage. You need to "frame" (describe) your factory experience in such a way that it becomes an advantage, in other words make a non-relevant job more relevant. To do this, write several brief bullet-points underneath the job, and explain your key duties using action verbs (conducted, inspected, carried out, performed, etc.). Think of ways to make the skills you used seem more "transferable" - i.e. how what you did could be considered relevant in the field where you are now applying for jobs? – A.S Apr 20 '15 at 19:29
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You will always want to mention that you were working during that time, since that looks better than being unemployed. If you don't want to mention the job you did, you could list it as "non-relevant employment", but during most interviews this will come up and you will be asked what this 'non-relevant employment' was.

However, in virtually any job there is some aspect that is relevant to other jobs. Try to take a step back and look at the work you did. Write down for yourself what your responsibilities were and what activities you did, and then see if any of those could be relevant to your regular field of work. If there's nothing, just write the experience in a single line, for example:

January 2013 - December 2014: Assembly line worker at MegaCorp Inc.

Otherwise, list it like you would list another job: similarly to the above, but add what you've learned/done there that will make you better at your new job.

In my personal opinion, you have nothing to lose: showing that you were working whatever job you could find to support your family speaks of strength of character and will probably make a potential employer more likely to hire you.

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    I completely agree. I had a gap in my employment when I was doing a postgraduate degree full time. During that time I was working part time as a research assistant at the university I was studying at. It's in my CV, and I outline the key responsibilities I had. It has never once been an issue for me. – Jane S Apr 20 '15 at 21:14
  • +1, just list any job. Not doing so will raise flags and could cause potential employers to think you're lazy. – Edwin Lambregts Apr 21 '15 at 11:20
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Avoid resume gaps whenever possible (without lying). Any work experience is good. Everyone goes through hard times in their life, and your future boss will appreciate that you did what you needed to do to provide for yourself and your family.

If your resume is light on work experience, you should expound on your experience and responsibilities. Anything you give an interviewer to talk about will be good for you. They may like that you always showed up for your shift on time, or that you made cool widgets. Either way it will almost certainly be viewed positively.

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