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A friend of mine who has water-treatment engineering degree recently moved to another country but struggles to find a job in his field. Because he did not want to stay at home unemployed (and because stealing food is not an option), he took a minimum-wage job (salesman in a small shop) that has nothing to do with his skills or even experience.

While I believe there is no shame for him to do that, I'm still not sure what to advise regarding his public LinkedIn profile and/or resume:

Should he mention the low-paying, unrelated job ? Is there any drawback in doing so ? Any drawback in not doing so ?

4

One advantage of mentioning the current unrelated job is that it shows that you are employed in city X. Instead of showing that your current job is in another country, or that your most recent job ended last year.

It also shows that you have the necessary work permits for the country where you are looking for a job.

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    The LinkedIn profile should give the job title and location, with a minimal one-line description along the lines of 'temporary non-engineering role while settling in <new country>'. – EleventhDoctor May 19 '15 at 8:21
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Your friend shouldn't mention the low paying, unrelated job on his Linkedin profile. The idea is to keep the Linkedin profile consistent and on point and to send a clear message through that consistency and that relevance.

Your friend can always explain himself at the interview stage. It's not about being ashamed, it's about sending a clear message about the work experience and skills set through consistency and relevance.

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    In a resume I would agree, but on a LinkedIn profile I'd think it better to list all work experience and show that you've always been motivated to keep earning a living rather than sitting at home collecting unemployment benefits? – Cronax May 18 '15 at 7:40
  • @Cronax Yeah, include a laundry list of odd jobs that have nothing to do with your field, then review your Linkedin profile and see for yourself what you just did to your Linkedin profile. The Linkedin profile is meant to tell the story of how you are qualified in your field not to tell the story that you stayed employed no matter how marginal the job. What do you have again sitting at home collecting unemployment benefits? Most of those who sit at home collecting unemployment benefits use their time to look for a new job. And looking for a new job is twice as much work as actually working. – Vietnhi Phuvan May 18 '15 at 8:33
  • Your answer makes sense but you don't at all mention the fact that this is the first job in the country which proves that he is allowed to work (visa/working permit). I also feel there is a difference between listing a dozen of unrelated jobs and just the one (the first in the country) to show you are employable. Could you elaborate your thoughts with those things in mind or is your opinion the same ? – ereOn May 18 '15 at 14:53
  • My opinion hasn't changed. Your friend can mention his eligibility to work in his Linkedin profile and in his resume without ever mentioning his deadend job. Having a first job in the country only means that he was eligible to work at the time.. – Vietnhi Phuvan May 18 '15 at 16:48
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Avoid mentioning jobs that may hurt your overall job chances. Generally speaking, this is great "add-on" information that an interviewer can elicit from you("Have you ever taken a service-sector or low-paying job, to make ends meet?" - INSERT_STORY ) .

But I would not put fast-food jobs on a page with more professional stints.

It simply does not make sense. Again, bring it up in an interview to show your grit perhaps. But I generally don't see the point

LinkedIn, being a public "profile" , should focus on overall picture

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    Isn't there a chance that the "gap" on LinkedIn makes him look suspicious ? – ereOn May 17 '15 at 15:30
  • @ereOn - But we're weighing this against the chance that working at McDonald's makes him look even more "suspicious" - my 2¢ – Adel May 17 '15 at 15:34
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    That makes sense but on the other end, he flew across the atlantic to follow his beloved and to start a new life which is a rather risky move. Isn't it expected that one needs some time to fully settle in and find a decent job ? – ereOn May 17 '15 at 15:46
  • @ereOn - Ok, granted\ – Adel May 17 '15 at 17:40
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    +1 for stating that Linkedin should focun on overall picture. Linkedin shouldn't be used as a dumpster to list each and every odd job you ever took. You are not trying to convince a prospective employer that you'll take ANY job to prove that you'd rather work. Especially if that's not the sort of thing that you need to prove to anyone. – Vietnhi Phuvan May 18 '15 at 11:46

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