How can I streamline my resume? Should I?
July 20, 2016 7:37 AM   Subscribe

My current work responsibilities are...complicated and various. My resume looks cluttered as a result. How can I better organize things, given that functional resumes are seen as dodgy?

Due to budget cuts, I support three areas. I have the kind of job that's a little bit of everything - I process financial documents, I prepare visa documents, I take minutes, I prepare reports, I support processes....Basically, even listing all the things I do creates a mass of text.

How do I fix the mass of text?

Also, how should I be grouping things? I work for three offices in one institution due to budget cuts, and each one has slightly different responsibilities. Right now I have my header set up thus:

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Supreme Administrative Assistant, 1875 - present
Charms, 2014 - present
Potions, 2010 - present
Office of Creating Documents, 1875 - present

Then I have a bulleted list of all the things I do.

These three positions are not really separate jobs; they're just additional responsibilities (some of which I even volunteered for....). I did not apply for any of them except the initial position.

Should I create a section for each one?

I have been looking at Ask A Manager, but most of those are for corporate jobs where job title and responsibilities are much more coherent.
posted by Frowner to Work & Money (7 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I think you should list your three jobs as individual jobs with overlapping dates, in the order that you took them on:

Charms Management Lead Associate, Hogwarts, 2014-Present
(duties in this job)

Potions Department Poisons Comptroller, Hogwarts, 2010-Present
(duties in this job)

Supreme Admin Assistant, Hogwarts, 1875-Present
(duties in this job)

Office of Creating Documents, Hogwarts, 1875-Present
(duties in this job)

You can explain why you have four jobs at once in the cover letter.

"Because of my leadership in blah blah blah, I took on the additional duties for the Potions Department, which has resulted in excellent blah blah. Building on this experience, I accepted an additional position with Charms, which has developed my blah blah and resulted in blah blah. Because of this diverse and varied experience, I am able to nimbly pivot between competing priorities in order to get things done." If you are applying in an academic setting, people will likely understand why you have three different positions (probably grant funding requirements or department funding or something) or you can explain it.

To me, this kind of thing looks really cool because you're clearly demonstrating that you can handle all the work available across multiple departments, reporting to multiple people, juggling multiple competing deadlines and priorities. It's obvious that as time went on and additional responsibilities came up, you took them! Great!

I am not a hiring manager at this point, but I have been, and I look at a lot of resumes now. And FWIW, I had three related jobs at once (full time, part time, and remote) that I listed in this way, and I got hired. Good luck!
posted by blnkfrnk at 7:54 AM on July 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

I also have a weird hybrid of positions where I wear three hats, and on top of that I've mutated in the same department, retaining one of those hats and gaining others. Here's how I recently did my resume:

Assistant Director at Academic Center, 2014-present
Student Coordinator: Advise students in a particular program and get them in and out the door with their diplomas.
- Task 1 and why I'm awesome at it
- Task 2 and what transferable skills I use to do it
Program Y Coordinator: Ensure program 1 runs sucessfully
- Task 1 and why I'm awesome at it
- Task 2 and what transferable skills I use to do it
Program X Coordinator: Continue developing X program with new features and securing external funding

Assistant Director at Same Academic Center, 2006-2014
Activity Coordinator: Advise students doing a particular academic activity
- Task 1 and why I'm awesome at it
- Task 2 and what transferable skills I use to do it
Program X Coordinator: Develop and deliver X program to students
- Task 1 and why I'm awesome at it
- Task 2 and what transferable skills I use to do it

Basically I grouped each of the hats in the same heading, and included subheadings with a really brief overview and then bullets with tasks, skills and deliverables. If this doesn't make sense because of its vagueness, I'm happy to send you an email with my actual resume for more context.
posted by Liesl at 8:34 AM on July 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

Depends, really, on the type of job you're looking for. Are you seeking a position that's similar to what you're doing now? Or would you prefer to specialize in one of those areas? Assuming you'd like to specialize in one of those areas, make that the focus/emphasis and then list additional duties below.

Remember that your resume is a marketing document, not a historical record. Be honest, of course, but emphasize the work that's most relevant to what you want to do in the future.
posted by mochapickle at 8:51 AM on July 20, 2016 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks, so far! This has given me some good ideas.

I do want to specialize - let's say that I"m hoping to move to Beauxbatons or Durmstrang and specialize in Charms Management while shedding most of the Potions and other work.

So perhaps I could create a "Charms responsibilities" and an "Other responsibilities" section?
posted by Frowner at 8:54 AM on July 20, 2016

Yup. :)
posted by mochapickle at 8:57 AM on July 20, 2016

Rather than looking at your resume as a list of things you have done, look at the job posting/job description and create a resume that shows you already have done the things they are asking for and can hit the ground running. When I was applying, each resume was individually created.

And make it short, one page. I look at hundreds of resumes and I appreciate the bullet-lists and to-the-point lines rather than a lot of fluff (which, weirdly, seems to be more common in admin resumes whereas professionals just get to the point).

If you are applying for gov't/non-profit jobs make sure to replicate the job posting words exactly. I read each resume personally, but even I would rather see the same words I have put in the posting than a creative way to express the same tasks that I may not understand. It shows you read the posting, for a start (one of my first questions in the interview is "Can you tell me about the job you have applied for?" and the answers I get show that people are really just shooting resumes off blindly)
posted by saucysault at 9:43 AM on July 20, 2016 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: Okay, mefites, I have an update: I just now signed my offer letter for an entry-level accounts position elsewhere at my current employer.

I used the resume suggestions from mefi and Ask A Manager to prepare my resume and cover and I used Ask A Manager to create and practice interview questions.

I'm a little bit in shock since with the exception of some international teaching in my twenties, I have never ever until now applied for a job on any basis except "I need a job, it looks like that one would be fine". Whereas now, I picked this one out thinking that it would be a good culture fit and would match my career goals.

So how about that? Here's hoping it's as suitable a gig as it looks!

Anyway, thanks to all who commented - reading the thread really helped push me to go through with this application.
posted by Frowner at 7:25 AM on October 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

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