Putting non-coding job experience on resume?

Hi folks, sorry if this has been asked before!

I’m at the point where I’ve begun applying to jobs and while my portfolio of personal projects feels solid enough to say I know a thing or two about doing front end work, I often wonder whether or not I should list my unrelated work experience on my resume.

Obviously, my experience as, say, a university instructor doesn’t necessarily show I can do coding (although it might say a thing or two about soft skills), but at the same time, I feel that not listing any past work experience might make my resume look a little less desirable if it’s nothing but personal projects.


List it! Leaving holes invites questions and looks like you’re trying to hide something. Also, I can’t see how adding ‘university instructor’ would be a minus in any way.


You should included it!
First, it counts as general work experience and proves you had been somewhat accountable about something.
Second, you can show the transferable skills of that experience (Communication, Coaching etc).

I’m not a recruiting expert by any means, but my observation is that your non-technical career experience becomes de-emphasized over time until, as your tech career progresses, it falls off completely. The first step, where you are now, is to start editing your prior work experience to emphasize transferable professional skills. Some details that would be relevant if you were applying for similar jobs won’t matter anymore. When considering you for a developer job, no one will be interested in your willingness to work weird shifts in your retail days or that you designed the featured product displays. The fact that you implemented an inventory tracking system to increase accuracy and efficiency would be worth noting though, or that you were the trainer of choice for new pizza flippers, and so on.

I like the rule of thumb that you keep your resume to a page – at least until you get to a senior position in your career. As things move down the list, they get shorter and shorter until they are gone completely. The balance to that is that you don’t want to brutally hack everything away. If you’re, say, in your 30s it would look weird to see no work experience just like it would be weird to see your highschool job at Burger King. Try to keep everything that you are proud of on your resume and focus on concise and effective bullet points.

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Soft skills are very important.

You can be the greatest developer in the world that can build anything by casting magical spells through your keyboard to instantly build anything. But without soft skills you wont know what to build, who to build it, work with anyone else on the project, or interact with clients/management.

Soft skills are sometimes underrated by developers, but are required to be a good developer. Having them can be that extra “angle” you can leverage to look better than the other resume.

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