Are you a Jack or Jill of all trades? If so, do you struggle with how to define yourself and your skills within the confines of your resume in a way that appeals to a specific opportunity?
The trick is to identify one or two common threads that run through the positions you've held and focus in on them. With second and third careers becoming the norm, it's important to highlight certain abilities you've picked up along the way and then present them in a light that benefits a prospective employer.
A block of stone once used as a piling, can become a treasured work of art when properly manipulated by a gifted craftsman. It does not cease, however, to be stone. Its strength is simply being utilized in a new way.
These examples will help to demonstrate this idea:
- Customer Service Representative
Each of the above three jobs require a caring attitude, communication skills and the ability to work well under pressure, abilities that are valuable in any number of fields.
Following is a resume snippet that articulates a nurse manager's transferable skills into a meaty achievement story, along with a special note identifying language substitutions to better resonate with non-healthcare audiences.
- Enhanced communications with facilities in Texas and Oklahoma by organizing twice-monthly conference calls focused on strategies for improving customer care.
Special Note: Substituted 'facilities' for 'hospitals' and 'customer' for 'patient.'
Here's another set to consider:
- Truck driver
- Restaurant Manager
- Retail sales
The above traverse three professions that require an ability to successfully deal with the public, remain focused for longer than average periods of time and (for the most part) work unsupervised.
An example of how a retail sales resume may communicate transferable skills into a rich achievement follows. No special note needed, as language transition was seamless.
- Improved responsiveness by 50% during customer traffic surges; quelled challenges with difficult clients through more effective relationship management techniques.
And finally, see if you can find the common thread between these three occupations:
- Military Service
- Heavy Equipment Operator
- Warehouse Supervisor
Military personnel must be capable of adapting to ever-changing situations for their own safety as well as those in their company. Certainly, instances occur when a heavy equipment operator must do the same while navigating treacherous terrain. And, a warehouse supervisor may be at a complete loss if those skills are absent when an unexpected delivery arrives or a storage bin suddenly fails.
The following resume achievement, based on a Blackhawk helicopter pilot's experience, weaves in these traits:
- Safely flew 600 flight hours, exercising situational leadership and fluid intelligence in highly stressful, life-and-death situations.
Special Note: Removed the word, 'combat,' as in, 'Safely flew 600 combat flight hours" to tone down the military jargon.
As you can see, finding common ground between varying occupations is simply a matter of mining beneath the surface a bit for the vein that connects them. Once this is accomplished, you can use these similarities as the building blocks for a focused resume message that will enable you to secure your next career opportunity.
Before writing your next resume, make a list of your duties and achievements in each position you've held. Before long, a theme will appear. Be sure to emphasize the strengths that are necessary for the position you desire and you will be well on your way.