Yes, You DO Have Work Experience (or 4 things you shouldn’t forget to put on your resume)

© Olena Yakobchuk |

© Olena Yakobchuk |

I work with a number of people who are “going back to work.”  When they come to me, they are convinced that they are unemployable because they “haven’t been working.”  I put those phrases in quotes because, nine times out of ten, the individual has been working, just not in a traditional office job.  For some reason, people think they can’t count that work.

Work is work.  If you had to think, stress, sweat or coordinate, you were working.

Here are 4 examples of work that people tend to leave off their resumes:

  1. Volunteering: If you performed a regular volunteer role, especially one that has an actual job definition and specific responsibilities (SPCA receptionist, classroom parent, club president, etc.), you were doing a job.  Don’t forget to talk about your experience coordinating, communicating, negotiating and managing.
  2. Self-employment: Took time off to develop and sell your art? Or switched to doing contract work for a while?  Congratulations! You’re an entrepreneur and a small business owner.  Don’t downplay the knowledge and skills you gained in building and selling your products or services.
  3. Part-time jobs: Ok, hostessing at the Olive Garden doesn’t look glamorous.  It does, however, show you have initiative and the practical sense to do what you need to do. A lot of these part-time jobs involve some sort of sales or customer service (hostessing, waiting tables, working at the mall, etc.) — don’t forget to highlight your obvious people skills.
  4. Homemaking: Running a household involves a lot of coordination.  (And if it wasn’t a job, rich people wouldn’t hire people to do it for them.)  Sure, some potential employers may downplay this role; but that doesn’t diminish the people, financial, and project management skills that you bring to bear to keep your household humming. If your household runs like a well-oiled machine, you’re doing a good JOB.

So unless you’ve been sitting on the couch watching talk shows and eating bonbons, you’ve been working.  Appreciate that about yourself, and write it up so others can appreciate it, too. It’s all good WORK.

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