Should You Add Unrelated Work Experience on Your Resume?

Is all the experience in your resume relevant? Here's what you need to know about irrelevant experience on your resume.

Adding unrelated work experience to your resume is like wearing a heavy jacket to the beach on a warm summer's day. Unnecessary.

In this article, you will learn:

  • What unrelated work experience is.
  • What relevant work experience is.
  • How to properly tailor your resume to avoid irrelevant work experience.
  • A good and a bad example of someone is pivoting a career.

What is Unrelated Work Experience?

Unrelated work experience is any job you have had in the past that is unrelated to the position for which you are applying.

For example, if you are applying for a job as a web developer, and you have previous experience working as a cashier at Walmart, that would be considered unrelated work experience.

What is Relevant Work Experience?

Relevant work experience is any job you have had in the past related to the position for which you are applying.

For example, if you are applying for a job as a web developer, and you have previous experience working as a web developer, that would be considered relevant work experience.

Relevant experience describes what you've done and the skills you'll transfer to the new job. Recruiters skim resumes (6 seconds on average) and quickly discard irrelevant ones.

So if your resume has any unrelated experiences, there is a high possibility a recruiter will toss it out. Resumes are a marketing tool for your skills and experience.

Resumes get you through to the interview process, so you must tailor it to fit the job description and not use it as a track record of all your work history.

Tailor your Resume to Avoid Irrelevant Work Experience

Tailoring your resume is about how you frame your resume.

For example, you may have gained soft and hard skills relevant in another field unrelated to the one you're applying to, but don't put the skills on your resume.

Instead, use a functional resume format to highlight your skills from another job that are relevant. You can also use a summary or highlights section for that purpose.

Words of caution, don't get carried away and lie on your resume. It will not work against you.

Example of an Irrelevant Work Experience on a Resume

So, let’s take a look at a well-made experience section. Keep in mind though – the applicant is applying for a job in retail.

Freelance Web developer

  • Handling written and verbal communications between clients and hosting companies.
  • Built, designed, and maintained a website for using a CMS system with CSS, javascript, XHTML, and Joomla.

This experience might seem very relevant, right? Wrong. If you're applying for another web developer job, it's okay, but if you're applying to work in retail, it becomes unrelated work experience.

Example of a Relevant Work Experience on Resume

So let's look at an example of relevant work experience for when you’re applying to work as a sales manager:

Sales Associate
Green Mamba

  • Educated customers on available product options to exceed customer service experience.
  • Provided high-quality customer service to optimize payment processes and customer service

See? You’re focusing on skills you’ve acquired while working as a sales associate. They’re relevant to the skills of a sales manager. Furthermore, you show that you’re aware of the day-to-day challenges people in your team will face.


You might need a professional to help tailor a resume that stands out from the rest. Give our resume builder a try. It will simplify the whole resume writing process.

So if you ever wonder whether to add that skill you learned at that coding camp to your executive resume, remember to ask yourself if this skill is relevant. What is a relevant skill, and how best can I tailor this resume to work for me and not against me?

Make your move!
Your resume is an extension of yourself.
Make one that's truly you.
Author image
Evgeni Asenov
Guide icon
Resume Guides