Multiple jobs at the same company that are actually the same job? What?
May 20, 2020 12:41 AM   Subscribe

Same company, multiple positions with same title, same job description for both, how to handle on resume?

At my last job, I technically held the same position and title the entire time I was there. Yet, due to a re-org, I spent about one year in my original department (Cat Herding and Llama Wrangling) and two in a new department created from a subset of my original department (Llama Wrangling). My work in these two departments served more or less the same internal clients.

The job I was originally hired for had me Herding Cats and Wrangling Llamas pretty equally. Post-restructure, I focused on Llama Wrangling but kept my toes dipped in the Cat Herding world through cross-functional projects. My official job description was never changed, though. Had the departments not split, I would have likely been pulled into the big multi-year Llama Herding task anyway.

Currently, I just list everything under one section in my resume because, again, same title and job description the entire time. However, I keep hearing that it's a good idea to move to a resume format that prefaces bullet points for key accomplishments with a narrative bit that describes, for each job, who you reported to and the scope of your duties. Something like this:

"Reporting to the Director of Cat Herding and Llama Wrangling (Jan 2017 - Feb 2018) and the Director of Llama Wrangling (June 2018 - March 2020), this role..."

Within the industry where this happened, this is fairly easy for hiring managers to make sense of. I am now applying for jobs in other industries where Cat Herding and Llama Wrangling tend to be more separate functions. Ideally, I want to go back to a primarily Cat Herding role because there isn't any real market for Llama Wrangling specialists. In my case, how do I do that accurately without underselling my Cat Herding experience or appearing to be a job hopper? Do I need to split the descriptions into two separate jobs to accurately represent them? Thanks!
posted by blerghamot to Work & Money (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you tailor your resume for the job you're applying to, I recommend you frame what you did in the context of the advertised job. Use active verbs, and simply describe what you did, and how you provided value to the business.

In my last job before I was laid off due to Covid-19, I wore at least 3-4 different hats. I worked for a tech start up as one of two IT staff.

During my time there, I was responsible for negotiating/renegotiating IT vendor contracts, IT purchasing, budgeting, help desk, pulling Ethernet cable, networking, and system administration.

Depending on the role I'm applying to, I "massage" what I did to what the role is asking for. I'm not lying, but I frame my experience to what the job is asking for so the HR Specialist can quickly see if my skill set is what they want.

One job I applied to wanted me to be a Telephony Administrator for a large company's call centre. In my application I described how I planned a phone system migration for my previous company's call centre, how I came under budget, and what problems I solved by doing the migration.

Another job I applied to was that of a Headend Technician at an ISP. In my application I described how I designed an office network expansion, purchased the appropriate networking equipment and cabling, pulled wire in the new office, and set up the network by a certain date.

As you can see, I didn't lie in both applications. However, I didn't describe skills that the job wasn't asking for. The Telephony Administrator position's hiring manager won't care about my amazing cable pulling skills.

However, the Headend Technician position's manager won't care about my contact centre phone system migration.

I hope my advice helps.
posted by GiveUpNed at 1:53 AM on May 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm no expert, but I did the splitting-up thing on one long-term role into three entirely separate descriptions - all with the same employer's name. The intent was to show a progression from Just Stroking This One Cat (in the first role), to Cat Herding (in the second), to Small-Animal Wrangling (in the third). In reality, it was just one job with one job title during all that time, albeit my actual day to day work did change in roughly the way I described.

My intent was to tell a story that would help me get a Small-Animal Wrangling job at a different organisation that isn't 100% cat-focussed, and it worked. Although I do still deal with quite a lot of cats here too.

Think in terms of laying the foundation for the kinds of things you want to talk about when they interview you. Good luck!
posted by rd45 at 2:29 AM on May 20, 2020

Tell the story in whatever way seems like a stronger fit for the jobs you are now applying to. That could be one combined entry, or it could be two totally separate entries -- think of it as crafting a narrative or telling a story, and then highlight what you want the reader to focus on.

So if you want to make it sound like you are a cat herding specialist who can also do llama wrangling when needed, you might want a combined entry that focuses mostly on the cat herding aspects of the role (thereby emphasizing the continuity of that task despite different reporting arrangements, and downplaying the non-cat herding parts of those roles). Or, if you wanted to highlight position growth and changes in responsibilities, then two separate entries might work, together telling a story of how you grew in skills and responsibilities.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:10 AM on May 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

When I have been re-orged I did not reflect it on my resume unless it told the story I wanted. If you want to go back to Cat Herding, I would not highlight that you have been on a Llama Wrangling focused team for the last 2 years. Keep it honest but list it all together and emphasize the Cat Herding in the first bullets for that role.
posted by amaire at 8:30 AM on May 20, 2020

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