I can write all that, but not a line on my resume.
December 16, 2011 12:17 PM   Subscribe

ResumeFilter: Should I write that I did a particular project for a job on personal time?

I just finished a stint of teaching English abroad and now I'm looking for another job (in a totally unrelated field). I know EFL has a reputation for being somewhat easy, but I actually worked hard and put a lot of personal time into my job. Without being asked or compensated, I wrote a series of textbooks for my school to fill a specific hole in the educational market, because I didn't want to teach with the other awful books out there. Specifically, it was for kids under 13 who were ready to handle the difficulty of the TOEFL, but not the advanced topics or rigidity. I spent a really long time researching textbook design and various educational theories. It ended up being something like 600 lessons. I also did really detailed A/B testing on my students and did the graphic design myself.

How would you represent this on a resume? I want to stress that I'm a self-starter and a hard worker, but not sound too weird.
posted by acidic to Work & Money (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I would create a "publications" section and list the titles of the textbooks, and put a few sentences underneath indicating that you researched, developed, designed, and wrote these books.
posted by chickenmagazine at 12:24 PM on December 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

That sounds like a great accomplishment! Pretty cool.

That said, the work product is much more important than whether you did it on or off the clock. I'd certainly state (maybe in the cover letter) that you "identified a gap in the market" and devised a curriculum to fill it. That shows initiative enough; I don't think anybody cares about your personal time.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:28 PM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Agreed-definitely put it in there, but I think the words 'personal time' would do more harm than good. 'Took the initiative' or something might be a better approach.
posted by box at 12:32 PM on December 16, 2011

Yes, list it separately (perhaps under "publications," as chickenmagazine suggests). That way you can give it the space it deserves, and you avoid having to mention the phrase "personal time," which I think will not convey the right message. You want to indicate that you have initiative and are a hard worker--you don't want to imply that you are unaware of the value of your own work and thus are willing to give it away for free.

Congratulations on the project, by the way--creating teaching materials on that scale is indeed an impressive accomplishment. I would imagine it will pique the interest of future employers, regardless of the field.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:37 PM on December 16, 2011

If you wrote the, on your own time, you probably retain the copyright. I'd look into offering them online either for free or pay or sme combination. If you can include their availability in your resume that will underline that it is your own separate accomplishment.
posted by bq at 12:59 PM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

It doesn't matter how much or how little time you worked, it's the achievements that count. List it as a separate project.

Besides, "I'll work extra, in my spare time, for free" is probably not how you want to sell yourself to prospective employers.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:00 PM on December 16, 2011 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: I am hesitant to list it as a separate publication because it's not googleable and I don't want to be a writer...
posted by acidic at 1:33 PM on December 16, 2011

They're not going to disbelieve you if they can't google it, and they're not going to force you to be a writer because you put that on your resume. It should definitely get some separate prominence.
posted by facetious at 1:51 PM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've undertaken large projects well outside my core competencies simply because they needed doing. Prospective employers have always understood that this is an example of me taking initiative and fixing something, not a sign that they should actually hire me to do that thing regularly (see: my complete lack of qualifications other than "no one else was doing anything about it"). If you don't want to be a writer, just make it clear when it comes up in the interview that, while you produced solid products because you do good work, you're not interested in making a career of it.
posted by teremala at 3:52 PM on December 16, 2011

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