I recently read a great article on CNN.com titled “How to put ‘stripper’ on your resume“. Many people have worked in positions that they found satisfying, paid good money and helped sustain their standard of living, are legal – yet may raise eyebrows when considering a new job not in the same realm.
Stripper certainly fits into this category. If you were previously a stripper, or “exotic dancer”, you may struggle with how to represent that on your resume and during the interview if you are going for a more mainstream job such as customer support (as one example).
However, I would not discount any legal work experience. Instead, it is a matter of characterizing it in a way that demonstrates skills learned that can apply to the position you are applying for, and being honest and candid in the interview. In the example above, you could characterize your job as a Dancer/Entertainer, and speak to how you had to interact with clients and management to provide good customer service. Skills learned in working with club clientele would translate into dealing with customers in another line of business – people skills, diplomatic skills, knowing when to engage upper management in dispute resolution, etc.
Furthermore, you could also speak to working in a highly competitive environment, and what team skills you learned working with colleagues, handling difficult customer or peer situations, and conflict resolution.
Don’t ever discount past experience – it is my belief that you can pull a relevant or comparable skill from almost any position that may align with the role you are applying for.
Cheers and best of luck in your search!