I am finishing up a master's degree in the social sciences, and I decided to take a year off to get some work experience before going into a PhD program. But I made the mistake of gaining little work experience while I pursued my studies for 6 years. Aside from a couple of really fulfilling part-time positions, and a bit of volunteering experience, I don't have much recent job experience. (My income has come from student loans and scholarships). I have been working with an employment coach, but I haven't gotten anywhere in applying for jobs related to my field during the past two month. So I've recently taken up a job as a retail sales associate. If I stay in this position for a year, will it look bad on my CV in the future (i.e. when I apply for a job more related to my field during or after a PhD program)? Would having this job for a year before going into a PhD make me look unambitious? My concern is that leaving it off would raise eyebrows regarding what I did during that year.

EDIT: I'm not just wondering about the irrelevance of the retail job. I'm wondering if staying in it for a year before entering a PhD would look bad, like I don't have the drive to enter a field relevant to my degree.


No, it's fine on a CV, it's not as good as 'relevant' work experience, but any work experience is better than none. A job in an unrelated field shows an employer a few things.

You can actually get out of bed in the morning and put in a full day.

You have the social skills to work well with others.

You would rather work at anything than sit at home waiting for a knight in shining armour to hand you a job.

Those are some, there are others.

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