March 2, 2012

Resume with a Twist

The recession brings out the best and worst in people. This has manifested itself in many different things, including how people develop resumes.

Now, if you are applying for a position with a national laboratory or an engineering firm, this blog post might not be applicable.  But like most things on the net, it is free and there is a certain consideration for the price you paid for this advice.

When it comes to resumes, I am a traditionalist.  I like to see where people have worked, the dates, responsibilities and accomplishments.  In recent years there has been a move to write towards your skills instead of your experience.

For example, someone who sold shoes at a store in the mall might list this in a traditional resume: “Sales Associate, Bob’s Shoe Company – Provided sales support for Bob’s shoes and helped to set new sales records.”  Then there is the “skills” based resume: “Marketing – Developed sales strategies for a national shoe company.”

You see the difference?  The “Skills” approach is useful if you don’t have direct marketing experience.  But from an employer’s perspective, it is a bit maddening trying to figure out what kind of experience a candidate has when going through the hiring process.

My suggestion is a hybrid approach, with a twist.  List your experience and list your skill areas.  That way you provide a prospective employer your past employment and your skill sets.

Here is the twist, include a few one-paragraph case study that features your problem solving capabilities.  If you have a lot of information put two of those together on a second sheet.  Include things like the situation you walked into, the challenges, strategies developed, how it was implemented and the results.

From a hiring perspective, if you give me your experience, skills and a few success stories, then you’ve done a great job in getting my attention.


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