I need a better title than "Jack of all trades"!
September 22, 2014 12:53 PM   Subscribe

I was laid off last week, and after taking a few days to sleep in and dominate my boyfriend at Minecraft, I'm jumping into the job hunt. I feel like I've done a pretty good job on most of my resume, but writing out my position at my most recent job has me a bit lost. It's my only work experience in Quebec, and was the longest I've ever worked anywhere, so it's important I get it right.

(I guess it matters what kind of jobs I'm applying to. Ideally, I'd like a development or supervisor/manager position in an international non-profit or NGO. I love leading people, and I don't think I'd be happy in a job that didn't have at least some sort of supervisory component. Something using my design skills (not guru level for sure, but pretty decent) at least occasionally would be great. I'm excellent with people. I'm a "big picture" kind of person who also gets giddy about the details. I love teaching, developing curriculum, and evaluating. I'm in the process of applying for an overseas-based administrative job with a major aid organization, as well as an entry-level government job in immigration. [A few of the job applications I've come across are incredibly detailed, and ask for very specific examples of responsibilities, so I don't want to over sell myself!] I do not really want to work hands-on with children anymore, though a children's based NGO would be fine. I really, really hope to make a decent income, and more than $35,000 would be a dream!)

This is what I have so far (company names changed):

Tumble Sports Club – Montreal, QC [Feb. 2012 – Sept. 2014]

⚫ Responsible for all operations at Bay Street gym location, including supervision of a team of approximately 10 staff and volunteers, completing reports tied to government grants/funding, representing the organization at municipal meetings, overseeing maintenance and security of the facility, assisting in scheduling, and other tasks as needed.
⚫Completed basic accounting tasks for both accounts receivable and accounts payable using Simply Accounting software. Assisted with various tasks for month's end, writing checks, following-up on overdue accounts, managing petty cash, etc.
⚫Responsible for all media and graphic design projects including posters, brochures, event programs, and advertising. Maintained the organization's existing website, and led the creation of a new one.
⚫Researched, developed and implemented a new circus arts program for children, including sourcing and purchasing of equipment, coordinating training for staff, and curriculum research and writing.

The problem is that I basically two different positions, and was also responsible for most things that didn't fit into the other (salaried) employees' roles.

I was "La responsable" of our 2nd gym facility. I don't really know how to translate that into English ("Head of"?), and none of my coworkers could suggest anything either. I was the top person at the other facility. I was in charge of all the staff and volunteers when they were working at that facilty (but not when they were working at the main location). I supervised their work, reported discipline problems, and trained the newer staff. I did not have hire/fire authority, but I often was the go-between for new hires that I suggested, including getting their resume, and scheduling meetings with the director. I was the contact person for various departments of local government, represented my gym at municipal meetings a few times a year, and filed reports/documents required under the terms of our funding/grants. I did not seek out new grants. I took payments and registrations from clients, and handled cash (middle to high 4 digits). I had a petty cash at my location (we didn't have a cash register), and I had to keep it balanced with the float, including collecting and printing transaction lists from our online software. I reviewed and approved all coach lesson plans. I was in charge of all safety checks in the gym. I had the authority and autonomy when dealing with clients (etc.) to make exceptions for things like payments and schedules. I had the authority to make purchases for "obvious" needs (like a new radio, or decorations, or a new landing mat). I was in charge of an 8 week camp during the summer (for 2 years), and was virtually entirely autonomous with that. I organized and ran it as I felt it should be run, made (big and small) purchases, planned the entire thing, etc. I only ever checked in with the director to tell her how well it was going. She, however, was the one who made the decision of who would work when. Everything else was in my hands.

The other half of my job took place at our main facility. I did a LOT of different things, but the accounting/finance part (which I did from time to time) is something I'm especially struggling with, because I don't know what the proper terms are, especially in English. My boss would hand me a month's worth of invoices and receipts, and I was tasked with writing and mailing the check (if it hadn't already been paid), noting the department code, and entering it all into Simply Accounting software. I also followed up on overdue accounts, and contacted our online processor whenever a client was having complications with payments. I occasionally helped roll and count (high 4 to low 5 digit) cash for deposit. I had access to one of two safes.

I was in charge of all media/design work, I maintained our existing website and created an entirely new one from scratch. I designed all our event posters, awards and medals, signs, and various branding (letterheads, brochures, business cards, advertising, etc.) I did most of our photography.

I also did a lot of administrative work. Basics like answering phones, taking payments/registrations, writing and responding to emails, etc. Almost any task involving Excel was given to me I did a lot of research and program development, including the major task of creating a circus arts curriculum from scratch (purchasing equipment, writing a curriculum, coordinating training, etc). I assisted heavily with all IT stuff (I was the most knowledgeable employee when it came to almost anything tech/computer related) , and staff scheduling. I programmed (not "code") and structured our online client registration platform every new season. I did a LOT more than just this, basically anytime a task didn't fit into someone else's established job description, it was thrown to me, and it was always taken care of. I was know as the person who would "get shit done". The director was very explicit that I would have been given even more responsibility had my French been a little better (I'm fluent in French, but still make grammar and phrasing mistakes. My workplace was 98% French.)

In all of this, I reported directly to the director, and had no other real supervisor, though there were a couple people in more senior positions, like the head coach. For the most part, they weren't "in charge of me", though in some things they had more authority than I did. Officially, I was laid off because the director is replacing my position with an "Assistant Director at Bay Street facility" position, to whom she plans to give exactly the same authority she herself has, as well as a company credit card, etc. I need to keep that in mind when giving myself a title, despite the fact that there will be a large amount of overlap in responsibilities. (The job would have been mine if I had a car, and had native-level French skills.)

Ok, so. My main questions are: 1) what wording should I use to describe this job? 2) How do I translate my title of "La Responsable", and what title would my other half of the job be? 3) How should I be presenting myself, in both the rest of my resume and in my cover letter/essay questions, in other to get the kinds of jobs I want?

This question is ridiculously long, so thanks for reading! I appreciate it so much!
posted by hasna to Work & Money (4 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Companies no longer care what your responsibilities were at a previous job so do not even include the words "responsible for" in your resume because it's gonna make you look out of touch to any hiring manager you interact with. They want to see what kind of impact you made regardless of what your responsibilities were, so start coaching your bullet points for each position you've held in those terms. Did you increase revenue through your efforts? Did you save your companies money by being extra efficient or innovating more strategic processes? Were you asked to take on more responsibilities quickly because your bosses could see you were extra competent? Think about why you are valuable to an employer and make sure your bullet points speak to that like you're supporting the thesis statement of an essay with evidence.
posted by Hermione Granger at 1:02 PM on September 22, 2014 [6 favorites]

For role #1, "La Responsable", I would go with "Manager, Bay Street Facility."

Administrative Staff is a pretty good description of Role #2. I'd probably split them into two discrete jobs with the same time period, focusing bullet points on what you accomplished in each role.
posted by muddgirl at 1:06 PM on September 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Just to jump in quick on what Hermione Granger said: I've read that advice a lot, but I've wracked my brain trying to think of what "results" I produced, and I can't think of any tactical ideas. I have no numbers or figures on how anything changed while I was there (in fact, enrollment actually dropped towards the end, but that was likely in large part to some decisions the director made, including the decision to stop advertising). As far as I know, revenue didn't increase, expenses didn't decrease, or anything like that. But I took a whole ton of work off my boss's plate, making it so she didn't have to worry about a lot of things, and she also ended contracts with a couple freelancers/consultants, because I took over their work, and was easier to work with, and was paid considerably less.
posted by hasna at 1:23 PM on September 22, 2014

There are two kinds of jobs. The kind where you sit there and wait for the work to come to you, or the kind where you make thing happen.

You want very short descriptions of what you do, with bullet points of what you ACCOMPLISHED.

So at the top of the resume, list skills:

- Microsoft Office Suite, Excel, Word, Outlook
- Simply Accounting Software
- Website design and maintenance using X tool.
- Bi-Lingual English and French
- Directing and assigning work of X employees and X volunteers

So your title could be Gym Superintendant:

Managed day-to-day financial and administrative tasks for a Gym with X members with $$$ monthly revenue.

- Designed and maintained the monthly financial documentation used in grant and governmental compliance reporting.
- Administered an 8-week summer program for X members, generating $$$ in revenue.
- Created Circus arts program resulting in $$$ in additional revenue and a XX% increase in membership.

You get the idea. Don't list every little thing you did. No manager will care that you changed the toilet paper in the loo, or scanned people's cards when they came in to work out. Also, there's a ton of stuff specific to the gym that you'll NEVER see again.

Emphasize the transferable skills that EVERY business needs.

Good luck to you!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:44 PM on September 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

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