How Should Exotic Dancer Portray Her Past?

Anonymous writes:
exotic_dancer_-_Google_SearchI am 30 years old and for the past five years have worked as an exotic dancer to put myself through college. I am gradating with honors this summer and want to get a “legitimate” job now; however I don’t know what to tell potential employers about what I’ve been doing for the past few years (afraid I’ll be stigmatized). Help!

The Career Doctor responds:
Sometimes the Career Doctor feels a little like Dear Abby and wonders when people are pulling a prank on him or whether the email is legitimate. . . for sake of my answer I will assume your email speaks the truth. You should be proud and feel a sense of great accomplishment rather than feeling afraid – you’ve done a great thing in working to put yourself through school!

First some questions for you. What jobs did you hold before the exotic dancing – where they more “legitimate” as you put it? Did you complete any projects/internships/co-ops while in college?

Second some advice for you. I would advise trying a chrono-functional resume. On your resume I would list your education first since that is the most recent event happening in your career and your best selling point. Of course state that you are graduating with honors – and add any other honors you’ve earned. Then as with any chrono-functional resume I would concentrate on the transferable skills you’ve attained from all your school and work experience. Finally I would list your actual work history but come up with a more tame title for your job – perhaps just dancer perhaps entertainer or performer. You might be able to think of a better job title. Be aware that many employers don’t like any type of functional resume and you may have to revert to a chronological version if the chrono-functional isn’t working for you. I suggest you spend some time with the Quintessential Careers: Resume Tutorials where we provide a more detailed explanation of chrono-functional resumes – along with samples.

You should do great. Just remember to have the poise and confidence in the job market that you’ve had for the past five years in accomplishing all that you have.