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AdvisorNet

Resume & Cover Letter for a Multi-Talented Individual

Resumes & Cover Letters

I see quite a few questions regarding how to formulate a resume and how to include outside talents. In short, mention your duties on teams that may not be relevant to the position at hand, but focus on your inter-disciplinary communication. Show how you were able to take the lessons learned and experience gained from one team to the next. Use it as a focal point to show how adaptable you are. Most modern companies have a need for employees to work with teams and projects outside of what they were initially hired for: show them you're able to re-tool for the task at hand.

As for me, I'm often asked what relevance my experience has to the position I'm interviewing for, which usually involves the question "since you have most of your experience in X, why are you applying for this position?" It's a good question to have an answer ready to beforehand. I went to college for video game development (DigiPen), and spent about 5 years as a programmer, designer, writer, technical artist, and tester; I also have non-gaming experience working on websites, databases, and automated test cases. I do IT contract work, which means I'm in the job market about every 9 months applying for positions, so I know this has worked before.

The Cover Letter

While most positions don't require a cover letter, it's a good idea to add one (especially if this is for your first position in the field). This is where you can summarize the breadth of your abilities, and then describe how you're able to use your skills to help each other, and make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. Describing inter-disciplinary communication and leadership across varying teams is golden; in my experience, it can help you get the leg-up over a candidate whose abilities are more specialized for the job.

The Resume

My resume is two pages long, but the most relevant information is all on the first page. I've found the best way to do a resume is to have enough information on the first page to give the manager a good idea about your abilities on page one, and the additional pages are for further reading if they like what they see on page one. Here are the sections I add to my resume.

Job-Specific Skills

After your name and contact info, the first thing you want to let them know is you're qualified for the job. The first section on each of my resumes is tailored to the description of the job I'm applying for. I find it's best to copy and paste the key bullet points from the job description and include them as bullet points at the top of your resume (combining a few short ones onto one line, if they're related, works for keeping it concise and saving space); doing so tells them which qualifications you have, and guarantees nothing gets lost in translation.

Personal Skills

Sometimes the resume is all you're allowed to send, and some managers might skip over the cover letter and go right for your resume. Use this section to mention your soft skills: For each line, I pick a descriptive word and then write how that applies to me (example: "Collaboration: I have experience working with designers, programmers, artists, producers, and clients to complete a task.")

Professional Skills

List out any tools you know how to use (which are relevant to the position); also, list any relevant technical skills.

Education

This part lets them know where you came from. For each institution, list the dates, name, and what your field of study was. For the military, any training academies (like "Ranger School") will be good to mention; make sure you have something to talk about for each institution listed, and tie it in with how it'll help you in the position you're applying for.

Work Experience

For this, I list the (civilian) companies I've worked for from most recent to least. Within each company, I specify the teams/projects I worked on, when I worked on them, what my title was, a one-line description of what that team/project entailed, and perhaps a couple of bullet points to call out some things I did. Have the most detail with the most recent positions, and taper it off as you go down the timeline

Other information

Finally, tell them about yourself. What hobbies do you have? Do you do volunteer stuff outside of work? If so, what's your position there? In addition to being a good technical fit for a position, firms are looking for people who are a good "cultural fit" for the company: basically if they think you'll get along well with your coworkers. Don't include any politically sensitive topics (like if you're a member of the Chamber of Commerce or The Sierra Club).

Conclusion

So, yeah, that about covers it. I hope this help you out, and if you have any questions or suggestions feel free to message me!

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