What a rascal that resume can be. Love it or hate it, you need it. It’s what a recruiter or hiring manager will quickly scan to determine in a matter of seconds whether or not you are qualified for the job. Knowing this, it was one of the first things I focused on at the start of my job search. Even though I hadn’t looked at my resume in over 3 years, it was easy to find. My computer hard-drive is kind of like library data-base, as opposed to a hoarder’s basement. Things have their places. I quickly found and opened the document and skimmed what I was working with [insert twisted, scrunchy, sour face here]. I’ve gotten jobs based off of THIS? It was prehistoric. I had some work to do.
Anyone who has sought help on resume-writing through a website, an organization, or a consultant knows that the world does not lack an amount of opinions on how to write a stellar resume. 10 things you should do this, 15 mistakes to avoid that, and so on. The two biggest takeaways that I have learned and applied to my resume throughout my job search are this: focus on results and tailor your resume to the job you’re applying for.
A big mistake I had made in the past was that my work experience detailed my responsibilities and duties within a role, instead of the results that I achieved. I knew that mumbo jumbo wasn’t going to fly with any potential employer. Solution: replace non-descriptive activities with quantitative results that I achieved within the role. Here are some examples that are on my master resume under my experience as a community economic facilitator in the Peace Corps:
– Secured and managed over $10,000 in local, state, and international grant funding (Results, nice!)
– Developed local workforce skills through the instruction of over 600 hours of business, ICT, and ESL skills (Quantitative, hoo-rah!)
– Consistently demolished by 10-year olds in evening soccer matches (Wait, what?)
Another mistake I had made in the past was that I would send the same resume to all jobs that I was applying for. It took me a couple failures to break this bad habit. And even then, I still didn’t want to do it. Because the fact that I facilitated the planning and implementation of a recycling program, collecting over 6000 pounds of recycled materials, was cool! And I wanted everyone to know about it!
Realistically, a hiring manager looking to fill an account coordinator position that has nothing to do with environmental initiatives or project design and management, probably doesn’t care about my super awesome recycling center. Ouch. It still hurts to say it out loud. I will say, though, that the companies that have called me for interviews were the positions for which I tailored my resume and only focused on the work that I had done specific to the position that I was applying for. Besides, I’ll just wait until I get hired to tell them about the recycling program.
That darn resume. When I’m not thinking about it I’m working on it. And when I’m not working on it I’m writing about it. It’s really got me wrapped around its finger.