Learning by doing

One of my responsibilities while at the Unemployment Office was writing resumes, and I learned a lot by doing maybe three or four a week over the seven months I was there. They became easier to do, and I really believe they became more effective as time went on.

One of the things I am doing as part of my expanded freelance work while not working full-time, is to produce resumes and cover letters for people. I have one paying project right now, and I am working on the resumes for my two daughters, who will be graduating from college in May.

Sometimes, though, I find myself spending the majority of time with my own resume. It’s a good thing I am not billing myself.

Resumes have really changed over the last few years, as a combination of the recession and the expansion of Internet job-searching. You’ve always wanted to tailor your cover letter to the specific job, but now the strong suggestions is to buff up your resume for each individual job, highlighting the skills that employer is looking for.

While multi-page resumes have gained more acceptance in the last decade, the “new resume” is much more functional than comprehensive. This is especially true for people like me who are possibly changing careers or have a great deal of prior experience that might not necessarily relate specifically to the job being applied for. (On the other hand, and we’ll explore it down the road, there are a lot of skills that transfer from one industry to another).

One of things we began focusing more on was a person’s skill set, rather than a listing of prior positions and the skills under each one. Employers are looking more and more at what skills people have — and how strong those skills are — rather than just what positions they have held.

For someone like me, who has several distinct skill sets, this means a series of resumes — I have three going — that focus on the specific areas. I also keep my comprehensive resume updated.

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2 Responses to Learning by doing

  1. anastasiav says:

    I am very much a multiple resume person, and it has worked very well for me – I have (had) a very high resume to interview ratio. Over time I developed “blocks” of text that I could just cut and paste depending on the job, but one thing I’ve quickly learned is how to use the keywords that the employer is using the job ad and turn them around into describing my skill set.

  2. chrystie says:

    yes always have multiple resumes around and I think that functional resumes work better. I did a test of 2 resumes and found that the functional resume got more call backs and general interest. Now that might be because I was a better fit or maybe the resume caught their attention with the right buzz words.

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