2/27/07

Finding a Job: Writing Your Resume

Among the worries upper most in my mind during the early months of my separation was putting together a decent resume. Oh, I’d dabbled at working and I had a resume of sorts, starting with a job I held in High School. But I cringed whenever I read it. Sales girl, EKG Technician, Lab Tech, Book Store Receptionist, File Clerk, self employed artist, VISTA Volunteer, and community relations specialist. None of these jobs shared a common thread, and none led to a promotion or a position with a real future.

How could I find a job based on such a messy, sloppy work record?

I turned to a friend to help me out. She was one of the premier Marketing Professors at the University of Virginia, so that helped tremendously, and she advised me to position myself through my abilities and skills. She also advised me to toss out the chronological sequence of my job history, especially those minor sales girl and file clerk jobs.

I reworked my resume according to her suggestions and edits, not questioning her expertise and trusting that she knew what she was doing. Lo and behold, by June 30 I was offered a serious job. My friend had been right. My new resume not only looked professional, it demonstrated who I was as a worker and responsible person, emphasizing my quest for lifelong learning, and downplaying the silly jobs I’d held over the years.

The best resumes, of course, are those that are densely packed with jobs and qualifications that progress ever onward and upward, which mine is now starting to resemble. In fact, I am now hard pressed to put everything I’ve done and can do in two short pages. I revisit my resume every six months, making changes and additions. It’s part of my Plan B to be prepared (just in case.)

If you do not have a good marketing professor waiting in the wings to help you, and if you are too upset at present to think straight, here are some wonderful sites that will help point you in the right direction. You might want to ask the boss of a friend to review your new resume before you send it out. Oh, and I worked up several versions of my resume, some aimed at nonprofits, and others aimed at corporations. As Shakespeare said (or something to that effect), "The audience is the thing!"
By sheer coincidence, The Modern Woman's Divorce Guide is covering the job hunting topic on one of its posts as well. Good minds think alike!

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