I worked at my family's restaurant throughout my undergraduate year and three years after graduating from college. I didn't get paid. This is just how my family works. Is it okay to list it as work experience?

If someone did an employment check, would they be able see that I had no taxes filed from the work that I did at my family's restaurant? If so, they would think I am lying about working there?

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    You can list it as volunteer work experience. That's effectively the truth, and experience is still experience as far as employers are concerned.
    – Steve-O
    Mar 29, 2017 at 18:01
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    Technically it belongs under education not work history, but no one will seriously object to you calling it a job. Mar 29, 2017 at 18:12
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    "This is just how my family works". Sounds to me like you performed work in return for benefits. Work. Mar 29, 2017 at 21:56
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    @A.I.Breveleri wait, why is it technically education? What... is the technical distinction here?
    – bharal
    Mar 31, 2017 at 9:42
  • @A.I.Breveleri OP mentioned two different things. Your undergraduate degree is education, but the work you did while obtaining the degree is work experience.
    – Brandin
    Mar 31, 2017 at 11:01

3 Answers 3


Sure it is. Working in the family business is always a valuable asset to put on a resume.

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    Hi and welcome to The Workplace. Please consider fleshing out your answer. In it's current form it would be more appropriate as a comment.
    – Myles
    Mar 29, 2017 at 22:05

Yes, it's worth adding to your resume if you think it is suitable and relates to future jobs that you apply for. Personally, if I wanted to work in a kitchen as a chef, then yeah. It relates to the job and shows that you've worked in a similar environment in the past.

As for the not getting paid part, it depends where you are in the world as to the laws and legality of that really. Personally, helping a family member out is one thing, but working there for six years is another.

Any experience whether paid or not is a good thing. Future employers don't need to know what you were being paid whilst there although they might want to know. List it as work experience nonetheless. It shows commitment and that you can give your time to help in anyway you can. Plus gaps in employment etc look bad, so this shows you were at least doing something.


I disagree with listing it as anything other than work experience, because it is work experience.

On the not getting paid part, did your family provide you with food to eat and a roof over your head while working at the restaurant?

Even if that's not the case, is it really possible to volunteer for a for-profit organization? I honestly don't know the answer to that but I'm guessing you shouldn't even if you can, and even if you do, advertising it is revealing your past salary, which invites other considerations.

  • Agree that it should be considered work experience. Evaluate what work was done. Were they what would be considered work duties, in scope, responsibility and time-commitment that would be paid if non-family were performing it? Apr 3, 2017 at 20:32

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