Is it true that if some years of experience don't apply towards the role you are seeking to leave it off the resume entirely? Won't that bring up the question of gap in employment, or "what were you doing during x time?" I have a few years of combined HR experience over the course of a 10 year period, but also have finance experience and collegiate administrative experience dabbled in between- which is not relevant to the field of recruiting that I want to work in. How do I create such a resume without it looking completely haphazard and choppy? I think my current resume is really stopping me from appropriately showcasing what I have done. Perhaps I have done things a bit backwards? I am currently finishing my MBA (currently in last course). Most of the jobs within my desired salary range are requiring x amount of years of managerial experience, even though I meet the other qualifications. I'm really disheartened by the idea that I may have to take an entry level position again! I have eight years of varied corporate experience just not at the management level. I've spent ALOT of time and money obtaining my MBA while working and also have military leadership experience. Appreciate any insight.
Thank you for your service Andrea. I agree with what has already been said, and I also think there are a couple of additional things you can do. Your goal is to help the person reading your resume to understand how your past experience applies to the future position; this isn't something you can take for granted.
It's important to speak about your past experience/responsibilities/accomplishments in a way that the future employer can see how it relates to the job you're applying for. (Example - instead of saying you were responsible for disseminating HR information to new employees, you can speak about managing the on-boarding process, or managing an orientation process, etc. - they will have things that need to be managed.).
Also, address any issues in the cover letter, and let them know how passionately you feel about performing the work and becoming part of the company. It gets really old reading about the numerous strengths someone has when they haven't said anything about what the company does, what the company stands for, etc. It makes people wonder if the person understands the job and knows anything about the company. They want to hear why you are a good fit for their company specifically; there are plenty of people who can do the work, but are they a fit for the group and the culture?
I too would be happy to review a resume or speak further about his. Good luck Andrea!! Beth
Thank you for your service.
I agree with some of these responses. After over 20 years in HR and recruiting, I have seen and heard such questions many times. Do not miss/skip any of your experiences. Your thought of possible irrelevance may be something of great interest to the employer or person reviewing your resume. Your resume style can differ...chronological vs. skills based. I prefer chronological for many reasons including how you progressed in your career. When you are describing your experiences, use accomplishments, not responsibilities. And use what I refer to as "-ly" words. -ly words are adverbs describing how well you did each accomplishment...like successfully, effectively, efficiently, and accurately. Wishing you the best in your search,
I honor your service to our country.
Your cover letter has to sell the "sizzle" of your expertise (skills, knowledge, experience, and accomplishments) with a tone that promotes the future benefits to the hiring manager of your expertise. Avoid using the cover letter to speak of the features of your past experience (in other words, don't use the cover letter to summarize your résumé), and avoid "squishy" words/phrases hiring managers don't care for. More on this in my blog post at https://donnleviejrstrategies.wordpress.com/category/cover-letters.
Donn LeVie Jr.
The Hire Authority for Strategic Career Engagement
I agree with Jeanne. Use a format that highlights the experiences you have instead of where and for how long you did each task. Let me know if you need more help.
Rather than doing a chronological resume, do a skills resume.
Lump all your HR experience under Human Resources Experience, and lump all your management experience under "Management Experience" -- even if it's not in HR.
I have done this successfully: I had writing experience outside of work and I had oil industry experience at work, and I merged the two into an oilfield journalist job. So it can be done.
Best wishes for success to you!
- Jeanne Perdue, Houston, TX
Andrea, Thank you for your service and congratulations on nearing completion of your MBA. Distinguished service and an advanced degree are both great accomplishments.
You've received a good number of replies and they vary. While some of my thoughts have already been documented, I don't think all of it has, so I'll add a bit. I'm hoping you give each some thought, decide what's right for you and your situation, as well as tally those recommendations that are similar.
You are right. DON'T LEAVE OUT ANY WORK HISTORY. When I interview candidates for job openings, the first thing I do is read through the employment history quickly and see if the experiences are chronological, missing any gaps, and how long each was to understand the candidate and his/her situation a bit better prior to an interview.
MAXIMIZE THE SPACE FOR RELEVANT EXPERIENCE, similar to how others have suggested. Make a generic resume and then tailor each resume for the job for which you are applying. Keep a copy of these tailored resumes. It's a bit of a hassle with version control and as you continue to update your resume, but it is critical. You should have a few lines for each job, but maybe no more if the experience is very old or not relevant. You should be able to come up with a few skills and accomplishments that are relevant to the job you are applying for or any job.
AT THE BEGINNING OF YOUR RESUME INCLUDE A SUMMARY SECTION that provides an overview of your work experience, skills, accomplishments, and industries. In most cases, a majority of that information comes from a most recent job. In a case like yours, more of it may come from the rest of your resume. This section allows you to mash together all of your experience that is relevant to the role you are interested in/applying for and creates a more complete vision of you for the interviewer/recruiter.
CREATE A SUMMARY FOR EACH COMPANY YOU WORKED FOR, in addition to the summary at the beginning. When you had multiple roles at a company (for when you were fortunate to have your skills valued and move around or better yet were promoted), put a summary of your experience with the company and then detail every job title with dates and summarize the experience as you normally would.
APPLYING THROUGH COMPANIES' RECRUITMENT WEBSITES MEANS YOUR RESUME WILL BE RANKED BASED ON AN ALGORITHM AND WHETHER YOU'VE BEEN REFERRED BY SOMEONE WHO WORKS FOR THE COMPANY. The algorithm is based on keywords found in your resume that match the job description and skills that are relevant. The tool will rank you against everyone else who has applied and preference will go to those who have been referred by someone in the company. Keep this in mind. Change the language in your resume to match the job description and industry terms. Seek out people at the company you know to ask them about the company and job (see below on networking). Applying online is likely a low probability activity, but you can increase your chances.
NETWORK ONLINE AND IN PERSON. Use this site or LinkedIn. Find people with positions, industries, and at companies in which you are interested. Join an industry or professional group (SHRM for HR, for example). Contacting people is best through a connection, but you can also make a compelling case based on shared background. If you are contacting someone you have no connection to, make sure to customize your introduction based on that person and why you want to reach out to them specifically. Expect a low response rate in this case. It's always helpful to do informal informational interviews to learn about what a position/career is really like, what made people as successful as they are, and get to know the company and the department in which you might work. Ultimately, a job is only as good as the manager, your team, and the other people you interact with.
I hope you found this and the other responses helpful in your job quest. Best wishes.
Employers are looking for complete information so there is no reason to leave gaps. It is okay to be candid about your experiences and the path you may have taken to arrive at this point. Each piece has it's own value in your experience profile. I think you should apply not for entry level but mid level positions and your experience of 10 years should be the reason for that. You can further boost it in an honest and open interview conversation.
Thank you for your service. Your resume answers what you accomplished, and a little of the skills to show how you got it done. The cover letter explains the why - this is where you engage the reader on an emotional level and tell your story of the choices you made. Hopefully the story succinctly explains a logical reason for taking the different roles and a pro-active attitude shows through. Agree with others that both resume and cover letter should only be one page each, otherwise you make it too difficult for the reader to read - there is an inverse relationship between the amount of words in a resume and the time the reader spends on it. Best of luck!
DO's & DON'TS OF JOB HUNTING IN YOUR 40-50s
Mistake #1. Keep busy: employers look for self starters. Remain active by consulting or blogging in your field.
Mistake #2. AOL & YAHOO email accounts are outdated. Get Google or Outlook, create a professional email address. If your name has been taken, add your profession. Eg. Mnovitskyconsultant@.....
Mistake #3. Don't hide.....Tweet, friend and connect. 94% of HR Professionals credited LINKEDIN as their main source. Use social media.
Mistake #4. Temper salary demands. Could be a deal breaker. One way to soften the blow of a lower salary then you last job is to ask for more flextime, vacation days and other perks that can bump up your package so you don't lose face.
Mistake #5. Network, network, network. You never know who might introduce you to a lead. Use college, high school classmates … Facebook. Parents of your kid's friends can help.
Mistake #6. Keep your resume to ONE PAGE.....no time to review dozens of pages. Tell a story with short snippets...you cut costs by a certain amount, improved sales by 25%. Show only past 10 yrs. of work history.....proofread carefully.
Mistake #7. Don't overthink the job description. The posting is for an IDEAL. Only a few of the requirements are essential. Good attitude and solid work history will carry the rest of the way.
Mistake #8: Don't pass on a job because its not an ideal fit. It may not be what you have been doing but could become the best job you ever had. Don't think you need to replace the job you had....look at your skill set and past experience as transferable.
AMERICAN RESUME CENTER (ARC)
Andrea: Whatever you do, don't write a skills-based resume as someone mentioned above. Recruiters hate them - they immediately start wondering what you are hiding. You can do a quick google search on the topic and see that I'm not making that up. For your specific question, you can handle the multiple jobs in one company as such:
Company Name (then do a tab so your dates are on the right) ---1994 - 2004
Most Recent Title (then do dates tabbed on the right) --2000 - 2004
Previous Role Title (dates)
Previous Role Title (dates)
Then in your body copy you can have a brief overview statement that says something to the effect of: Worked way up into management role within x-million dollar company over 10 years. After that opener, your bullets would go underneath and they would focus on your accomplishments in management and the areas you want to pursue. You don't have to go all the way back. The reality is that people really only care about what's relevant to their job. Feel free to reach out to me directly at Jane@DotComRecruiting.com! Good luck if I don't hear from you!
You should always be candid in stating your work history. Even experience not relevant to the job you are applying for could work in your favor. Perhaps the company has other positions open that you are not aware of. So your "other" experience could lead to additional opportunities. A good manager/interviewer will always ask about gaps in your work history and background.
Hi Andrea -
Thank you for your service!
I hope you've already found some luck in creating a successful resume, but I wanted to add the best piece of advice that anyone ever gave me in resume writing. And it somewhat echoes what several people here have expressed about cover letters.
Use your cover letter to introduce and sell yourself and show your personality, but your resume should be a simply a simple summary of your career highlights. It should be clear, concise and easy for someone to glance over. They need to immediately see your biggest accomplishments stand out.
Don't get lost in too many details - save those for the interview - because that is where you will really convince potential employers that you are the right person for the job. Think of the resume itself as more of a check list of success, to show you have the skills to get you in the door for a face to face.
Good luck! I wish you much success!
Andrea, Thank you for your service.
your post strikes me as your resume needs to focus on what is most important (or very important) in recruiting... you need to emphasize what you have done in all these positions that has prepared you for your new recruiting career... building relationships.
How has your experiences in these different positions enhanced your abilities to listen to peoples needs and understand their goals?
Best of luck to you. I know you will be successful.
I write a resume where Ive had musltiple jobs buy pickijg out the actions I've done...say with me I've worked in healthcare and educ. so I write several headings like:
Then under those headings I put where I worked and more specifics as to what i did. This covers all the employers and focuses on the skill you used at various places of employment.
Hope that helps!
You could enumerate your different jobs by category rather than by time. This would make you look more like an "all-around" candidate. If you would send me your resume in Word to firstname.lastname@example.org I would show you what I mean.
Thank you for your years of service and congrats on finishing up your MBA. I agree with you that you should not leave out any of your years of experience as gaps in employment often lead to red flags for hiring managers. If parts of your work history are more applicable than others then build out those sections in more detail and talk less about the roles you have had that are not related. If there are certain managerial skills sets listed in the job description perhaps you can link them to your military leadership experience such as the scale of oversight you had over a particular group or function. Some companies offer rotational programs for recent MBA graduates where the person cycles through many different departments in order to gain experience. Maybe this would be a way to gain some of the experience the jobs you are looking at require.
Many thanks for your service. Congratulations, you have accomplished a lot. I do believe you can craft your resume to your strentghths and the desired position. Please let me know if you would like me to review your document. I would be glad to do so. Best- Doug
I am retired Army, and a retired Management Level employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. I have written many resumes, which for the government is required for promotions and new positions even when you already work for them. As a GS-13 I also gave training on how to master your resume. Keep it very basic. And, it doesn't matter whether previous experience applies to the job you are seeking. What you want to do is highlight significant accomplishments. Here is what I mean:
1. What was the problem you were confronted with?
2. What were your actions to confront that problem or situation?
3. What was the outcome of your involvement?
Although your resume response may not directly link to the position you are seeking, all jobs require the ability to see potential obstacles and overcome them. If you give too much information about a skill that does not pertain to the situation at hand, then you lose the reviewer. Don't give long drawn-out responses to those three things, but make it clear and easy to understand each point. But, don't use so many that your resume becomes overly lengthy. When I reviewed resumes for position vacancies I would toss the ones aside that were too long and really said nothing. What impressed me were the ones who made it clear that they could identify problems, select a course of action, and identify an outcome. You do that and you will rise to the top of the resume pile. Good luck, God Bless you in your endeavors.
And after reading some comments, everyone has different opinions! Welcome back to the good ol' US of A! Not everyone is a recruiter, they are not all trained at ACME RECRUITMENT, and I have looked at resumes myself. My decision is soley on: a good "person," for the job vacancy, so a gap that is explained well, not huge! Gaps like swiss cheese, yes. But don't let that sit on your conscience! Will take away from the biggy: The interview. As long as the resume is great looking, not a unformatted mess no white space and run-on paragraphs = instant nope for me... you have skills essential for the job, represent yourelf well in the resume, cover letter & interview ( relaxed, prepared, have intersted questions about the business you rte applying for = you really are interested, not just "another interview," you can have more sucess during the interview process. It is not all about dates. Go getem!
In this case, you might want to look into a " skill based resume." So the format will be different. Make sure you have several eyes look at it and it is formatted in an appealing way, real professional, no mistakes! Then let your various skills shine through. You still need to put dates on there & just be ready in an interview to explain confidently gaps. I have done it & as long as you have good reason, people are human and what they need for that position will direct their decision. Best of luck to you, don't sweat it & thank you for serving & protecting me & our country!
Some good advice already here, but I thought I'd embellish on two points.
While you shouldn't leave gaps in your work history, you don't necessarily need to waste a lot of space detailing duties and achievements that you don't wish to market. For example, if you worked at UPS but nothing in that experience is marketable (or what you want to be doing again), simply put:
UPS, Watertown MA 2007-2010
Distribution technician responsible for logistics for Boston area shipments.
Then be done with it. All the space on the resume is valuable, so don't waste any detailing things that aren't likely to help you. I think putting something short and sweet, particularly for jobs you've done many years ago, is perfectly fine.
Job-seekers should also consider the PAR rule when building a resume or when interviewing. That is, mention a PROBLEM, how you took ACTION, and what was the RESULT. Spend most of the time/space detailing your action. This is similar to what Angela wrote above, but I think a hiring manager would like to see more about what you did to "make it happen."
I'm not a fan of cover letters -- perhaps in a specific circumstance -- but in general I don't feel they are overly critical.
I'd be happy to take a look at your rez - if you would like to email it to me -- please message me back.
Thank you, ma'am, for your service.
A well-rounded resume demonstrating competency in several areas is attractive to smaller companies that requires employees to wear several "hats". Good luck!
You all have touched on so many good points...I am truly humbled by the promptness and quality of the feedback and willingness to assist....where has this site been all my life?? :) There are some really great pieces of motivation here, THANK YOU for that and all that you do to help veterans. Truly amazing!
My main recommendation is to mention how you're a versatile team member who can communicate effectively across disciplines.
I wrote an article about this which might help: https://acp-advisornet.org/articles/326/resume-cover-letter-multi-talented-individual
Let me say well after the fact of all the advice that heads in every direction, that I hope something has worked out. I have heard both points of view on resume style, but regardless if it is functional or not, do write your resume from the perspective of the position you are seeking. Highlight the experiences they want to see, everything else may be a distraction and go from there.
There are a lot of great answers here about formatting and which skills to highlight. One of my common recommendations is to take a huge step back before you get into writing up your skills in a pre-defined format. More often than not I have seen people get writer's block because they are trying to fit an abundance of information into a box. First take some time and do some free writing. Write everything you have ever done. Write about everything people appreciated about your work. Write about the impact your work had. Write about all the times your work had an impact and no one appreciated it or noticed. Just write. That is how you will find the gold within your year of experience. You can then organize that information into various categories and then you can fit it into a nice format.
You have received great advice. In sunmmary, Network, network, network. Before submitting your resume, meet with someone in your network who may work at or have information about the job you seek. One great source of network contacts is LinkedIn. You will find classmates, and colleagues who are willing to help.
Next, tailor your resume to the position, stressing accomplishments, not responsibilitiies.
A chronological resume is easiest for recruiters and hiring managers to read and compare to the job you seek.
As has been mentioned, keep busy via volunteer or part time opportunities that will enhance your resume and add to your network.
As you said "starting over" in an entry level mangagment position seems less than exciting. One thing to keep in mind is that you are the new person, so use this step to gain knowledge and show your experience. Good Luck!
I would never omit any experience from my resume. You recognize that, at best, the "gaps" would, at best, only invite inquiry as to "what were you doing "?
Do not dismiss as invaluable the experience and skills you were able to obtain or refine in your varied experience. You appear quite accomplished. Sometimes a less than positive experience directs you towards the work you will find most fulfilling. As you interview, use your experience as a strength. As something you bring to the table. This
A person with your experience does not have to start at an entry level position.
You should seek to be someones assistant in the management position you are trying to get to.
With your varied background you can organize that lead paragraph to explain your "Jack of all trades" approach.
You have varied experience in multiple tasks and positions.
You are a very valuable well rounded person.
Organizing the experience up front followed by dates if service at prior jobs will present you as a valueable candidate.
It will take longer to find the company that recognizes your background as an asset but the length of search is is uncontrollable by you.
Good luck and thanks for your service.
I just read your post. I don't know if you have gotten a new job yet, but I wanted to let you know that you should not be disheartened by the fact that you may have to take an entry-level position. Once they see your skills in action, it won't take you long to get that first promotion. I have found my M.B.A. to be helpful in this way.
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