When putting together a work history to include in our LinkedIn profile, few of us actually stop to consider the quality of the jobs we're presenting to the world. Unfortunately, however, listing low-level positions that don't necessarily relate to our chosen field or profession can actually hurt our job prospects instead of help them.
Research shows that, when potential employers or recruiters review a LinkedIn profile, they tend to believe that someone who's taken a low-level job is simply less committed--or even less able and competent--than someone who has only accepted higher-quality jobs. For many recruiters, the quality of your job counts a lot more than the sheer quantity of experience you may possess.
According to David Pedulla at the University of Texas Population Research Center, "Even though millions of workers are employed in part-time positions--through temporary agencies and at jobs below their skill level--less attention has been paid to how these types of employment situations influence workers' future hiring outcomes."
To better understand this phenomenon, researchers conducted a study in which 903 hiring decision-makers were questioned about their perceptions regarding job applicants when taking into account their respective employment histories. Upon completing the study, results showed that men in part-time positions were penalized, as employers saw them as less committed or competent than those in full-time positions. Along the same lines, women who occupied the same position were thought to be less competent, but not necessarily less committed.
Ultimately, the study concluded that both men and women gained no benefit from taking lower-level jobs, regardless of how important and invigorating the experience might have been for the individual. The findings from this research may imply that it could be worthwhile to think twice before accepting the first job offer that comes your way.
Even though all work experience adds something to our lives, it's important to remember that it can definitely be more beneficial to do a smaller number of high-quality jobs incredibly well than to be employed in a long string of lower-level jobs.