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Should you include interim positions on your resume?

Adding interim jobs to your resume
(Dreamstime/TNS)

DEAR READERS: Many people have taken jobs delivering food, working in grocery stores, making and selling masks, and doing other “essential services” to stay financially afloat during the pandemic. If you are one of those “essential workers,” you might be wondering if should update your resume to include those jobs — even if they don’t have anything to do with your official career search.

Go ahead and add away, but don’t feel like it’s a must.

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That’s the advice from several career experts, who each have a slightly different take on the topic.

Caitlin Proctor, content manager, career expert and resume writer for Zipjob, says there isn’t really a right or wrong answer to the question, and notes that a recent Zipjob survey shows employment gaps of up to six months don’t seem to have a big impact on the job search.

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“Given the pandemic, employers are likely to be even more lenient,” Proctor says. “If you don’t want to include your interim position/positions on your resume, it probably won’t hurt your job search. On the other hand, if your essential service job has offered you any sort of skillset that is new and potentially helpful for your career goals, I would recommend you include it on your resume.”

The key, if you opt to add your temporary/part-time pandemic-period employment, is to focus on what you’ve gained from the experience.

“All work experiences have a particular value, and there is no harm in mentioning them in the resume. It is especially true during challenging times like these,” says David Morneau, co-founder of inBeat Agency, who recently hired someone who had been working a delivery job. “Employers understand that you need to make money if you were laid off during the pandemic. Finding a temporary job shows determination and initiative. These are the qualities that many recruiters value in candidates.”

What kind of skills can food delivery and other roles in essential services provide?

“Many of these positions show employers that the applicant possesses initiative and motivation. They understand how to follow set rules, arrive in a timely manner to pick up and drop off delivery items, and pay attention to detail, such as noting additional requests on a DoorDash or Postmates order placed by the individual that made the order,” says Dana Case, director of operations at MyCorporation.com. All of these are what Case calls “transferrable skills” that will help position job seekers as desirable candidates when they’re applying for jobs in their chosen careers.

They also show that a job candidate is organized, can create and manage schedules, interacts well with customers, and is good at resolving problems, Morneau adds.

“How do I list these jobs on my resume?” is another question you might have.

Proctor suggests adding a line below your work experience that says, “Additional experience includes....”

“You don’t have to detail dates or employers, but you can mention other job positions you held. That way, you can reference the job if asked about your gap in an interview, while keeping your resume focused on your career target,” Proctor says. “This is a great option for freelancers who have been doing a variety of projects, as well as people who have picked up work with multiple delivery or ride sharing services. It’s neat, it’s honest, but it doesn’t draw attention [to the job gap].”

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(Kathleen Furore is a Chicago-based writer and editor who has covered personal finance and other business-related topics for a variety of trade and consumer publications. You can email her your career questions at kfurore@yahoo.com.)

(C) 2020 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

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