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Unrelated Workex on resume?

Hello All,

I have a (mostly fresh grad) resume related question. If someone has coursework, projects and interest in one area (and quite obviously intends to work in that area) but it just so happens that the work experience he has had so far, is in a slightly different area, is it good to mention that experience on the resume (and, if yes, is it good to state it up high on the resume, or lower down, after more relevant projects, despite the fact that they are not "real world" projects)

As an eg. for this is my case. I am a fresh grad (MSEE), interested in a full-time position in embedded systems/ software development, Network Systems and related (mostly system level) positions. But my work experience has been as a web programmer/ network admin for an  on-campus department.

Any suggestions appreciated!


The EE/CS Guy
Friday, March 12, 2004

It's all related.  I was in tech sales before programming and I have that listed on my resume.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Sounds like you have related experience in non-work projects. And your work experience is not related a lot to what you want to work on.

In that case you can create two sections on your resume. The first section (near the top) would be Skills. This section describes relevant skills and experiences that would be useful in your job.

The second section is Experience. This section merely lists the jobs you've had. Any description of skills learned/used on jobs goes in the first Skills section.

This type of resume is very good at showing off skills gained outside work. I used this format successfully for my first job out of college.

Friday, March 12, 2004

I agree with Nathan.  This type of hybrid Skills/Chonological resume is a real winner when you want to emphasize a skillset.

Just make sure you really talk in an educated manner about your coursework.  Do NOT list class names/numbers.  You aren't summarizing a list of classes, you're describing the knowlege you have.  Break it down into relevent subject areas and describe the type of work you've done in each.  For example:

Bathing: Extensive experience in pre-wash rinse, lathering, final rinse.  Some experience in towel drying.
Teeth Brushing: Some experience with toothpaste and floss.
Pants: Extensive experience with putting right leg in first methodology.  Created a pair of cut-offs under strict laboratory conditions which met international hangy-string requirements.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Thanks Nathan and Lou for comments and suggestion. I think they should be pretty useful to me.
Yeah Nathan, thats exactly the kind of situation I am in. I work as a web programmer only because it is "just a campus job", but after doing that for over a year now, I have realized that is definitely not something I can do on a more longterm/ career basis.

Lou, that was a very cool way of conveying your point about the resume skills section. Infact, I think I have something similar going on right now. I have one section called "work experience" where I list my (may be not so related, but real world jobs) and another section called "project experience" where I list my (mostly) academic projects. Further I have the projects section broken down by area (operating systems, Networks et al). What do you guys think of that?


The EE/CS Guy
Friday, March 12, 2004

I think your differentiation between work and relevent experience is a bit vague.  I suspect you can do a chronological listing of employers, but rather than listing bullets which say, "Built PHP based site for Finance Club", say things like "Lead developer on ..."

You can really highlight the intangibles, just make sure you list some good nouns so questions can be asked. 

"You say here you were the standards advocate during the design of the Library's search system.  How do you see that work relating to developing a Whatchimacalit?"

It sounds like you're on the right track.  Just really work on your word choice and make sure it's all positive and puts you in the best light possible.  Get it reviewed by everyone you know.

Friday, March 12, 2004


Friday, March 19, 2004

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