When I was 15, I began working for a fast food place and stayed there for a total of four years before I left for another job to gain more experience in the workforce. I was at my second job for 18 months before I quit because of a medical issue.
I focused solely on my education for a while until I had to go back to work for financial reasons. I returned to the same fast food job I had at 15, working on and off for short stints (three to nine months) in various locations over a period of 4 years. I finally just gave up because my medical condition was getting worse and I was miserable when at that job.
How should I list that experience on my resume? I'm trying to get some type of clerical/administrative position.
Here are some suggestions for creating a resume that highlights your relevant experience and downplays your short-term jobs in an unrelated field.
1. Use a chronological resume format.
2. In your Experience section, start with a current activity (paid or unpaid) that's relevant to your clerical/administrative support job objective and which truthfully represents what you've been doing since you left your fast food job. List that activity as a "job title" for the current span of time, 2010-present.
For example, maybe you're doing some clerical volunteer work (Clerical Support) or you're helping a friend reorganize her home office (Office Assistant). Under this "job title" write bullet point statements that refer to specific clerical projects that demonstrate your admininstrative skills and qualifications.
Don't worry about whether or not you are paid for this work. What's important is that you have experience in your new field. By the way, if you don't have any experience to list, start volunteering or helping someone right away so you can put it on your resume.
3. Next, list your job at the fast food restaurant with a parenthetical phrase after the job title, something like this:
SWZ Restaurant, Waitperson, 2006-2010 (short-term positions mostly concurrent with education)
There's no need to put bullet point statements for this position unless you did something on that job that supports your job objective.
Note: Only list the most recent four years of work at the fast food restaurant. Do not go back to age 15 on your resume as it will make you look much older than you actually are, and it will give the impression that your heart is really in the fast food business.
Listing your 18-month job is optional. Consider leaving it off to avoid bringing up your medical issue in the interview.
Best of luck with your transition into steady employment in the administrative support field.