UPDATED ON 12/10/2021
If you are proud of what you did, definitely put it on your resume, doggone it!
Back in my MBA days, I was still a resume delinquent.
And like any business delinquent pressured by the prospects of summer internships, I sought the help of my career advisor.
For those of you who do not know, I worked as a systems engineer in the aerospace industry for six years before making a 180-degree switch to screenwriting for a couple years before entering business school.
Obviously, it goes without saying that business schools endorse their students toward more business-related positions.
And any career advisor — affiliated with a school or not — would urge the candidate to remove anything that appears unrelated to the prospective position, given that the removal would not leave any significant time gaps.
So when the advisor — a business school advisor — noticed my history, she insisted that I erase my screenwriting experience.
I felt I just got punched in the gut.
I had taken what I still considered the largest risk of my life by abandoning a stable engineering job at a Fortune 100 aerospace company to explore my passion yet uncertain possibilities in the film industry.
It was not a decision I took lightly.
For two years, I had lived off of my savings in Silicon Valley and Seattle to hone my craft in screenwriting.
And boy, was it eye-opening.
I learned things well beyond the written word. Things I have since applied to other disciplines, in the workplace and in life.
Those of you who have read my articles about screenwriting can attest to how I feel about an artform I hold dear to my heart.
I was — and still am — proud of what I did and what I had to endure as a screenwriter.
I do not regret the experience at all.
So you can imagine my dismay when my career advisor dismissed my screenwriting experience as trivial, irrelevant, and inconvenient.
Yeah, well, that afternoon, I strolled out of her office, determined not to seek her advice again.
Between leaving her office and walking the graduation ceremony, I was certain that my writing skills would be a tremendous benefit at any company. Combined with my confidence in working with numbers, I decided to market myself as a technical/business person who writes.
It turned out it was the best decision I made post-MBA.
Sure, it might have deterred some companies, but plenty of open-minded companies connected with me.
Rather than being an obstacle, screenwriting became a huge speaking point and asset during the interview. Everyone was fascinated.
I was eventually hired as a data analyst by a business intelligence consulting firm where I didn’t just applied my data science prowess. I also oversaw 80% of its content creation, including keynote speeches and scripts for an instructional video web series.
Who said screenwriting is useless outside of Hollywood?!
Advisors and coaches — myself included — will recommend deleting any experience or education that appears irrelevant to the job you wish to apply.
However, your resume — and your career — is yours and yours alone. It is up to you to decide how you want to market yourself.
As a resume coach, I may suggest deleting anything that does not target your desired position because of preconceptions about the seemingly insignificant gig.
But you know your history and dreams the best because you live it.
So you have the final say.
If you are PROUD of your accomplishment, no matter its relevancy, and you know it would be applicable to your future, keep it and find a way to sell it on your resume.
It is your prerogative.
It is your obligation.
Do you need help connecting an experience you are proud of to your next career goal? Let’s chat!