Résumé tip: how to handle irrelevant experience

When moving into IT from a different field, you may find that some of your previous experience is irrelevant. Here’s how to prevent it from cluttering your résumé while allowing other experience to pop out.

Does your résumé look this cluttered? Photo by todd kent on Unsplash

When I got into the field in 2014, I came from Social Work. While I used to joke that I’d simply “switched from fixing people to fixing computers,” the truth is that, on paper at least, there were not a lot of parallels. True, the social skills I brought with me are sometimes sadly lacking in this field, but that’s not necessarily an eye catcher on a résumé!

I now needed to take a six year career in Social Work and ensure that it didn’t clutter up my résumé. To make matters worse, the four years before that were in Real Estate. D’oh!

Wow, that job experience is completely irrelevant!

A friend of mine was already in the field, so I gave him my résumé to critique (something I highly recommend you do as well!) He suggested that I combine my experiences into one entry for Social Work and one for Real Estate. This would allow me to showcase some very old experience I had that was loosely relevant, as well as highlighting a cert that I had gotten two decades ago. Although it had expired long ago, I felt that showing I had been able to obtain an MCSE would show I had the aptitude to hit the ground running. (I also reinforced that by studying the A+ book as I mentioned in the previous post. This allowed me to answer lots of questions confidently during the interview and was very helpful when I started working!)

Here’s how it looked after I consolidated the experience:

Notice that I’ve essentially welded the two places I worked at into one. I still list out both company names to show it was more than one job. The job titles I had were different as well: Case Manager at the first place, then Case Manager at the second, then a promotion to Supervisor at the second. I just listed both titles. As for the experience, my job duties as a supervisor were very different than when I was a Case Manager, but I throw in a mix of the two. There was no need to list everything because this experience was not relevant anyhow, so I just brought over the highlights. I then had a large “Technical Skills” section where I prominently listed my one cert and some basic knowledge I already had. That’s what I really wanted the reviewer to see!

Take a look at your résumé now. What skills, certifications, experience, or internships do you want to highlight? Give that information a chance to shine by reducing all the other clutter!

With each post, I cover a new topic to help you get your start (or keep progressing) in your IT career. If it’s your first time visiting this blog, start here. Or, see all my posts about interview questions you should be able to answer.

Author: Silicon Wanderer

I'm a merry wanderer on the path to financial independence through IT. I'm doing it, and I want to show you how you can to!

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