Fast Food Work or Technical Project on Resume?

For reference, I'm interested in VC or Consulting primarily - not anything quanty.

I worked part time at a fast food joint during high school. I'm a freshman now, and started working on a project with some others in a college club at the beginning of the year in a technical field (think ML/AI). The project is finished, but my contributions sound much better than they really are and I can only sell it by bullshitting essentially (which has worked easy so far, as I haven't had to go into technical detail when applying to any technical roles). I similarly have REAL technical experience coming up from a FAANG internship.

On the other hand, whilst fast food worked is generally looked down upon, I've had a few good interviews with new-money hustlers who either worked in fast food themselves or respect the grind. This has often led to me being able to convert the interview.

From a resume perspective, which should I put? Both are two lines - essentially, should I highlight work ethic or technical ability?


Based on the insights from Wall Street Oasis, it's crucial to tailor your resume to highlight the most relevant experiences for the roles you're targeting. In your case, since you're interested in venture capital (VC) or consulting, both of which value diverse skill sets and experiences, here’s how you might consider positioning your experiences:

  1. Technical Project (ML/AI): Given your interest in VC and consulting, showcasing a technical project can be highly beneficial, especially in fields like ML/AI which are cutting-edge and highly relevant. Even if your role in the project wasn't as significant as it might appear, it demonstrates your involvement in relevant fields and shows a capacity to work in team-based technical environments. This is particularly appealing in consulting, where problem-solving and technical insights can be crucial.

  2. Fast Food Job: This experience is valuable as it demonstrates your work ethic, ability to handle high-pressure environments, and customer service skills. These are transferable skills that are highly regarded in any field, including VC and consulting. The fact that this experience has resonated well in interviews suggests it adds a unique and relatable element to your story, which can help differentiate you from other candidates.

Recommendation: Include both experiences on your resume. For the technical project, focus on the skills you applied and the outcome of the project, even if your role was limited. For the fast food job, highlight your responsibilities and any skills or qualities you developed, such as teamwork, leadership, or the ability to work under pressure.

This dual approach allows you to showcase both your technical abilities and your strong work ethic, providing a well-rounded picture of your capabilities and potential. Remember, the key is to be honest but strategic in how you present your experiences, ensuring they align with the job requirements and demonstrate your potential value to prospective employers in VC or consulting.

Sources: ANSWERED: Most Common Resume Questions, Cover Letter + Resume Advice, Q&A: Former MBB Consultant, Q&A: I just conducted interviews in 4 Superdays, Resume and cover letter - a reviewers perspective

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