Human Resources

A Resume’s Purpose

A couple months ago, I had the opportunity to meet with a group of professions representing a variety of Human Service Agencies who help job seekers living with disabilities, place themselves in skill matched work environments. During this session which lasted about an hour and a half, I led the group in a discussion which I named “A Resume’s Purpose.”

After taking answers from the group on that very question, I shared my own definition: “to provide a snap shot of the work experience, competencies, education, and self-value as they relate to a specific job. Whenever possible, a resume should also detail measurable results.”

We covered resume basics such as average length (no more than 2 pages), how many resumes should an individual have (a resume/resume type for each job/ job type interested in), to list (work history and technical skills) or not to list (undefined acronyms or company specific jargon), when if ever is it ok to include graphics, varied font types in colorful hues, and personal photos (oh please no!), and more.

We discussed the difference between a chronological resume: jobs listed by date- newest to oldest, and a functional resume: skills and experience focused.

We analyzed the work history filled resumes sent to me in advance, of a handful of actual job seekers who I protectively renamed John, Jane, Jen, and Jim Smith or Doe.

Creative Wording/Purpose/Results

I gave the following examples on how reorganizing a statement or a simple addition could turn drab to fab.

Old: “Designs and put together displays.”

New: “Designs and put together displays in order to advertise products and increase sales.”

Old: “Picked up trash and debris and cleaned bathrooms.”

New: “Maintained cleanliness and order in bathrooms by picking up trash and debris.”

Old: “Assisted customers in finding products in the store.”

New: “Displayed consistent quality service by responding quickly to customer questions, and providing assistance as needed.”

After an engaged and informative back and forth with the group, one of the attendees raised her hand and asked “how would you recommend preparing a resume for someone who has little to no work experience?”

I suggested the inclusion of relevant volunteer work, community service, accomplishments, awards, other languages spoken, and other skills that speak to one’s character, and in a perfectly timed moment, I asked the group to focus their attention on the final resume example in the packet.

What to put on a resume for little to no work experience?

The final resume that of my teenaged daughter (Jen Doe 😊), who at the time had worked in three roles. Can you guess the titles based on the bulleted tasks?

Job 1:

  • Provides quality service to a diverse customer base.
  • Manages time effectively
  • Prepares nutritious meals and snacks.
  • Adheres to rules and routines.
  • Helps to maintain a neat and orderly workspace.
  • Responds quickly and effectively to customer concerns.
  • Pays attention to detail.

Job 2:

  • Prepares meals.
  • Insures safety of children.
  • Organizes age appropriate activities.
  • Follows rules and routines implemented by parents.
  • Resolves conflicts.
  • Pays attention to detail.

Job 3:

  • Communicated effectively with directors, counselors, and parents.
  • Assisted in educating children on nature topics.
  • Resolved conflicts.
  • Insured safety of children.
  • Clearly explained rules and expectations in age appropriate was.
  • Provided quality leadership to a diverse group of children.

If you guessed Server at an Ice Cream shop, Babysitter, and Junior Counselor, then you are RIGHT, and congratulations!

When helping my daughter with her resume, I had her list the many tasks that she was responsible for at each job and then broke them down in a way that made them transferable to most other positions. In addition, I made sure to list soft skills that highlight her as an individual: pays attention to detail, communicates effectively, manages time effectively, adheres to rules and routines.

Skills such as these, are valuable, are important to employers, and should be highlighted on a resume whether you have years of employment experience, or little to none at all. Taking into account the above and adding other Information and tips that you’ve learned along the way will hopefully result in a resume win!

This article which is my first, depicts and an abbreviated version of the specifics and detail discussed during my “A Resume’s Purpose” presentation.

I hope I kept you until the end. If so, THANKS for reading, and join me next time!!!!

What are your thoughts? Do you have questions about resume writing?  If so, ask and I shall answer.

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