I am a semi-recent grad and I just moved to the city. I have beenactively looking for a job for a month now. I took the first job Icould get (fast food) while I look for a job. Do you think listing thefast food experience hurts my chances? Fast food is where I am, notwhere I’m going to be. I’m just very insecure that fast food is aturnoff in my industry.
This is a great question that, unfortunately, accurately reflects the tough situations a lot of today’s job seekers face. Taking a retail or a foodservice job shouldn’t be an indicator of the quality of person you are but rather your desire to be a productive member of society while a difficult market squeezes so many people out.
Holla firmly believes that showing any real work experience on a resume is a better reflection on the candidate than appearing unemployed. Also, if you’ve drawn a paycheck from a legitimate payroll service while in a “transition job,” chances are it will also show up on a pre-hire background check your future employer may conduct. Since you’ll inevitably be disclosing this job at some point, it’s best to control the story and exhibit the mature confidence in your resume and cover letter that you hope the HR rep or hiring manager wants to see in you.
Let’s use the McDonalds example. You’re a cashier and wrapping delicious McDoubles on a daily basis for their customers. It’s assumed that your duties include operating the register, boxing fries and Big Macs, and greeting customers. Millions of teenagers perform the same function every day. How were you different than the ones that turn over weekly? Hopefully since you come from or aspire to the corporate world, you know the importance of showing up on time and being prepared.
Try out some bullet points like:
- Maintained perfect work attendance, arriving timely and completing all assigned shifts
- Served as “on-call” staff member providing as-needed coverage for Store Manager
If you spent a little time at a McDonald’s and are the fast-learning, disciplined team member, you might have had the opportunity to train people. McDonald’s operates on a strictly defined process, shouldn’t it be commendable (at least in the context of fast food) that you can master it and help others learn it too?
- Promoted to Staff Trainer within three months of date of hire
- Attended Regional training and development classes produced by McDonald’s corporate
Even though the work itself is menial and doesn’t involve a lot of thought, there are ways to show you at least put yourself in the top percentile of McDonald’s workers through reliability and consistent performance. Don’t resign yourself to the fact that you have to work a restaurant job to pay your bills, simply aim to demonstrate that you strived to be the best burger-flipper that McDonald’s could find and why they’re going to be disappointed when they lose you to the regular job market.