Should you take a job that’s beneath your skill?
That question needs to be answered with another question: How much do you need the money?
If you need income more than you need to worry about what underemployment does to your résumé, then the question is moot. Any job is better than no job, if you need cash.
Career advisor Landa Williams sometimes counsels job hunters who fear that taking an entry-level position will tarnish their career progression.
She acknowledges that holding, say, a part-time retail job may give prospective employers a false impression of your skills, interests and ambition. And it does cut into your job search time, including networking.
But Williams says the positives of “bridge” or “subsistence” jobs usually outweigh the negatives.
Equally important, a foot in the door lets you show your dependability, talents or self-starting ability. Many promotions come through temp jobs.
Williams shares an example of an unemployed marketing professional who took a part-time coffee shop job. She had a regular customer, a CEO for a nearby company. After several conversations, in which the CEO became aware of her background and personality, he hired her to be a marketing executive.
Admittedly, that’s a better-than-best-case scenario. But it shows that connections can happen in unplanned ways. Even a “dead-end” job may introduce you to people or career paths that you wouldn’t know about if you stayed home.
Williams said she hopes employers understand that the recession caused résumé gaps for many job hunters who don’t want to stay underemployed.
Unfortunately, that kind of understanding isn’t always present in the real world. Long-term joblessness presents severe re-employment challenges.
That’s why doing something — anything — is better than having an extended blank on your résumé.