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Re-entering The Job Market
Before you say, "no, no, no," really give this some thought. For example, communication skills have to do with how well one is able to communicate ideas to others and how well one is able to listen to the ideas of others and understand what has been stated. Problem solving skills are used by most of us, daily. Interpersonal skills have to do with how well we relate to others, our sense of empathy, and how well others relate to us, in return. Project management skills have to do with the organization of an event or project (isn't life a series of projects?); from concept through completion.
Next to each of the personal skills you've listed, write down where and how these skills have been used, and give real world examples. Write down everything you can think of.
For example, if you've been a stay-at-home parent and one of your responsibilities has been to manage the family finances, this implies a mathematical skill. It may also be a computer proficiency skill ("Taught myself Quicken to manage our checking, savings and mortgage accounts"). It may also be a time management skill. It may also be a financial management skill ("I restructured our accounts in order to pay off debt more quickly, saving $$$ in the first year").
Next, write down the benefits that have resulted from your efforts and contributions within these various skill sets. For example, using the situation from above, teaching oneself a software application, such as Quicken, is a computer proficiency skill and an achievement. If learning this software application allowed you to better manage the family finances, ensured that the bills were paid on time... if you kept precise, accurate documentation... and debt had been consolidated in such a manner as to generate an increase in savings because of the steps you applied, then these are all benefits from your applied skills.
If you've ever volunteered for or participated in any event or organization, this is experience. Experience doesn't have to be "paid experience" to count.
One of the best ways to gain applied experience is to volunteer your skills and services to an organization in need. Trade your time for the opportunity to learn or hone a new skill. There are literally thousands of organizations and associations that would gladly accept your offer of free time and service in exchange for training or the opportunity to gain a few applicable skills.
New graduates see: Resume Advice for the New Graduate.
While you may question the value of listing employment history from a distant past, showing a potential employer that you have had work experience is important. It shows capability. When you're including this older work history make certain that you write your skills and responsibilities so that they're relevant to today's work environment. For example, there's no good reason to emphasize that the computer you worked on in 1983 operated on DOS. For current value and relevance, it would only be necessary to let your reader know that you did work on a computer and that certain responsibilities included the application of computer skills.
Don't fabricate the truth, either. It would look pretty funny to see Windows XP listed for a position held in 1992, and lying is a very good way to terminate all further interest.
Stick to the truth. Things are going to get much easier once you've secured that next position. Don't jeopardize your chances by lying. Have a little faith in what you can honestly accomplish.
There are two basic formats for resumes: reverse chronological, and functional.
A functional resume format focuses on skill sets and leaves job listings (titles, company names, dates, etc.) for last. While this may be one of the few times a functional format makes sense, I'd still suggest you avoid using it. Functional formats are mostly used by candidates who have gaps in their work history, who are applying for jobs outside their previous experience, who are trying to make transferable skills more apparent, or who are trying to "hide" other things - and employers and hiring managers know this. This makes a functional resume questionable from the onset. With no recent work experience, you already have one hurdle to overcome without creating another.
A reverse chronological format provides a logical listing of one's experience, moving from the most recent experience to the least. It can incorporate some of the features of a functional format (highlighting skill sets) without jeopardizing the integrity of the candidate.
To create a reverse chronological format, begin your document by creating a summary section that highlights those unique skills and characteristics you possess that will allow you to excel at the types of positions and companies being targeted. See free resume examples for some ideas on what a summary section looks like. Next, divide your document into headings that include "RELEVANT EXPERIENCE," "VOLUNTEER" or "COMMUNITY SERVICE," and "PREVIOUS WORK HISTORY."
Under "Relevant Experience," list any experience that is relevant to the jobs you're currently targeting, whether paid or unpaid. If all of your volunteer experience falls under this category, then forgo the "COMMUNITY SERVICE" heading and list all your volunteer positions here.
Use active action words to lead each statement of responsibility: "Led," "Directed," "Managed," "Assisted," "Provided," (see more under Resume Basics), and include the benefits and achievements of your efforts and contributions: "Enabled...," "Ensured...," "Secured...," "Increased...," "Improved...," etc.
Include an "EDUCATION" heading for any courses, certifications or education completed. If you've had some higher education, but didn't achieve a degree, then let your reader know how many credits you've completed or how many years you've attended. List the individual course titles if this will add strength to your presentation.
Review the other documents on this site for more information on creating an effective resume, as well as articles on the Do's and Don'ts of an Effective Job Search (lots of strategies you can apply, here), Interview Prep, Salary Requirements, and more. Also worth your review: Equal Employment Opportunity Laws - U.S.
If you find yourself
getting stuck, don't hesitate to
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Good luck in your job search!
1st-Writer.com - over 18 years
experience helping clients achieve their career and business goals. Feel free to
with any questions you may have. I'll be glad to help!
Good luck in your job search! Sue Campbell, 1st-Writer.com - over 18 years experience helping clients achieve their career and business goals. Feel free to e-mail me with any questions you may have. I'll be glad to help!
1st-Writer.com • P.O. Box 1128, Keystone Heights, FL 32656-1128 • (904) 248-2493 • E-mail Sue Campbell
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