A CV with no context?
July 16, 2012 3:11 AM   Subscribe

I am looking at moving my career into a field where many of the skills and much of my experience will be useful, but the context entirely different. How does one frame a CV and other correspondence such that the fact that the skills and experience were acquired in a different industry is de-emphasised?

I'm looking at moving from managing construction in the arts industry to working in the broader construction industry.

The work I have done in the past, the regulations and requirements and many other aspects of my work history are very much in common with the general construction industry, but the arts context is very confusing to a lot of people in the more general industry. This is a problem because the differences become the focus of a lot of attention and discussion. It would be more useful if the similarities and my actual skills were the focus.

What are some strategies other people have used in this situation? I'm really a bit stuck on how to write my CV at the moment.
posted by deadwax to Work & Money (4 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
You might consider using a skills-based, rather than a traditional, CV/resume.
posted by box at 5:11 AM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Go to Manager Tools and listen to the "Your Resume Stinks!" podcast. You want to focus your resume on your accomplishments. If you have accomplishments with maintaining compliance with regulations and requirements, list and quantify those.

Don't list buzzwords. List things that make you better than another warm body.
posted by bfranklin at 6:09 AM on July 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Perhaps get a few copies of CV's from people with a general construction background, and use similar language and focus, to highlight similarities?

Or work out core competencies (eg project management, stakeholder management, knowledge of critical regulations, risk management, budgeting), and make sure your CV explicitly covers those points?
posted by Touchstone at 6:16 AM on July 16, 2012

I run a copy shop, and we have a lot of artists and construction contractors as clients. Both care about precision and accuracy in having their print jobs completed, but in different ways. The contractors care about more logical, concrete details. Is the scale correct, are the prints the right size and clearly readable. The rest (type of paper, color tones, etc.) they could care less about, as long as the dimensions are correct and they can read it. While artists want their jobs sized correctly to, they tend to be concerned with more abstract criteria. Are the colors too warm? Too cool? Does the paper it's on feel right for the piece? Not brownish enough? Too brown? Does this paper say "Wedding card" to you? And such.

When crafting your CV, perhaps cater to the more structured, methodical mind of the contractor. Instead of talking about your skill in building sets, mention how you're a pro with a chop saw and can eyeball plum within a couple degrees. Instead of managing a stage crew, talk about how you can wrangle logistics to make sure materials arrive on time and where they need to be. The general contractor probably doesn't care what productions you've been a part of, he wants to know if you know a Skil saw from a Sawzall, and how, specifically, your skills will benefit him.

Whatever you do, don't bullshit a general contractor. At least around here, they all pretty much know each other, and know what major jobs they're all doing. And they network. If you sell this one a song and wind up getting fired, word is probably going to spread pretty quickly. But they're also pretty understanding. If you don't know something, say so. "I don't know X yet, but I'm very familiar with Y and Z, which seem similar, and I'm eager to learn." Or something. But don't bullshit them, it will probably come back to bite you.
posted by xedrik at 6:54 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

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