How can I stay focused while rewriting my resume for the 1000th time?
March 6, 2013 2:06 PM Subscribe
I’ve shuffled the words around so many times, they’ve not only lost all meaning to me, but actually blur in front of my eyes. I’m starting to make really dumb mistakes. Until the end of year 2 of underemployment, I had a few friends who were willing to give my applications a once-over, but I’m now embarrassed about asking for help so often. How can I stay on track? Any advice on a check system to minimize errors?
I’ve been underemployed for three years, after a layoff and a move back to my home country. I have to do substantial tweaking for every position to which I apply, because my career ‘path’ consists of 10+ years of stops and starts, mostly in support roles for smaller organizations in the non-profit and education sectors. (So, a bit of comms, a touch of generalist ‘research’, some coordinating & facilitating & outreach here and there, and more admin than I want to think about. Or do, really, maybe that’s part of it.)
Basically, if I think I meet 7/10 criteria for a job, or can make a strong case for a match, I apply. The specs are often different enough that serious surgery’s required every third effort. (E.g.: getting rid of sector-specific jargon; adding it back in; emphasizing one or another aspect of the hugely varied work I did, and translating it into sector-specific language, using relevant keyword sprinklage.)
Resume consultants have been mostly unhelpful. Seems they’re used to high fliers, or are unfamiliar with the sectors in which I have experience. (Have also been advised to basically spam 2nd and 3rd degree contacts on LinkedIn, but I suspect this might undermine confidence in my judgement. My profile there’s fuzzy, because I don’t see how I can make it all things for all people.) Reviving my ‘network’ from where I’m at’s been a nonstarter.
My area’s highly competitive, and I’m pretty sure people with graduate degrees are getting my target roles, which nominally asking for a BA. The private sector is not loving me, either. (Looking for non-admin ‘assistant’ type positions in marketing and communications departments, here.)
Long-term goal: shooting for an MA, tbd - either in an allied health field, or in something related to health policy - but it won’t happen for a while. Currently, I’m rehabbing my undergrad GPA on a part-time basis. Doing well in that, at least, getting 3.8-4.0 in all classes taken so far. It will take me up to June 2014 to complete this though, and I’ll be 40 when I’m done. Slightly panicking about that.
Mid-term goal: get a little place closer to friends; have enough money to go out more often than twice a month.
Also: I’ve got a huge mental block around doing 100% admin (reception, admin assistant, etc). I’m registered with and regularly contact three agencies wanting to put me in exactly this, in the suburbs (hate those, have no car). I know, I should be grateful for any opportunity, but I feel worn out and pissed off just looking at the specs. And I question how much a job like that will help my grad/professional school application down the line. I’m at the point where I know I have to not only consider but get excited about these kinds of jobs, but I'm having a hard time.
How can I accept my situation, and marshal enough focus to not completely fuck up my apps?