17 Responses to Résumé Rules

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  11. Kandy S. says:

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your blogs. I have found them all to be very informative, concise, and pertinent. Thank you for putting in so much time to help “us” look for employment. I have a couple of questions . . . do you have any suggestions/tips on how to structure a resume when someone has had experience in several different industries and capacities, and/or has a large portion of their experience as self-employment? I’ll look forward to your response. Thank you for your time.

    • lyndacwatts says:

      Thank you for your question, Kandy. I also used to have the same question, and it ultimately lead to my creation of this section of my blog.

      Your resume needs to be tailored to the job you are seeking. Let’s say that you have the following varied experience: nursing, home remodeling, appointment secretary, and yoga instructor. And let’s say that you are seeking a position as a medical administrator’s assistant. You’ll want to list your work history in reverse chronological order, and under each position / area of experience list achievements that are relevant to the responsibilities of a medical administrator’s assistant. The nursing gives you familiarity and experience with medical terminology, standards of practice, etc. The home remodeling requires organizational skills and budget control. Being an appointment secretary requires attention to detail, organization, and people skills. Being a yoga instructor implies that you are healthy, fit, and energetic. In each instance, there are positives to be considered by a hiring authority.

      Often, when our resumes seem to bounce all over the place, we have to give some explanatory text in an email and/or cover letter. For example, a person might say: “You’ll note that my career path is unconventional. As a result of my multi-industry experience, I adjust quickly to new situations, and I concisely master new challenges.”

      There really isn’t one answer, though, to fit your question. It really does all depend on your unique situation and the job you seek. The more complex your work history, the more difficult it is to carve out an effective resume. I worked with someone recently who had tried every possible version of a resume she could think of, without success. I spent 40+ hours re-working her resume, and within 6 weeks she found employment. Point is: Even a professional writer finds some of these resumes very difficult to create. But, in the long run, a great resume is worth all the work (and, sometime, the expense*).

      Self-employment is no different than conventional employment. Identify your position, your job title, and your achievements.

      Lynda C. Watts

      *As a reminder, I offer free resume evaluation services. I VERY SELDOM recommend that you hire a professionally written resume, but in some cases it is the best option. And if you do hire a professional, make sure that you hire someone who genuinely cares. Don’t fall for a cheap “writer” who ends up putting your information through a program that spits out a document which could be worse than what you started with in the first place!

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