Dear Sam: Most of my career has been in the financial industry, primarily in retail branch banking. I am looking to move into office management or a higher-level administrative role, the latter of which I do have experience. How do I tailor my resume to reflect the parallels between the two industries with similar skillsets? I have been clear of my intentions in the cover letters I am sending but am not getting results other than rejection letters. What suggestions do you have to perfect my resume, showing those dual skills? – Laura
Dear Laura: Illustrating the transferability of one’s skills is a common dilemma in resume development. One of the key ways you can do so is to create a qualifications summary presenting the high-level administrative functions you have performed and the office and operational environments you have managed. Currently, your resume opens with an objective statement focused on what you want, which you have probably found is not what this initial stage of the recruitment process is all about. Instead, a qualifications summary will communicate what you can do for and offer an employer, and is key to securing interest and positive action from your target audience.
In addition to the qualifications summary, be sure you focus your content on the most related aspects of your experience. Avoid the overly concise language you are currently using and further explore the actions and outcomes of your efforts. Spread your presentation to 2 pages—expected if you are going to explore 15+ years of experience—but consider trimming the picture a little by explaining only perhaps the last couple of roles you held with the bank you worked with for the first 19 years of your career. By doing this, you will appear a little less overqualified for the positions you are interested in and therefore be a better match for the roles you want. Best of luck.
Dear Sam: Is it ever a good thing to state on your resume and/or application that you have retired from your primary career? I have left a long healthcare career, want to transfer skills to a part-time position, and am having trouble dealing with this. – Linda
Dear Linda: Probably not is the short answer. Typically you’d try to minimize the appearance of your age on your resume, so you wouldn’t likely present all of your experience. When showing, say, 15 or so years, you won’t appear (on paper) at retirement age, so stating something to this effect would unnecessarily age your candidacy. When I address such questions, it often evokes frustration from more mature job seekers who feel discriminated against due to age. While we live in the real world and know that ageism exists, please also consider that other assumptions can come into play when evaluating the candidacy of someone who states they have already “retired.” Think about the compensation an employer may assume you require…how many years may you want to continue to work…do you have deeply embedded employment preferences and styles that may not “fit” with the culture? Present a competitive picture by focusing on your recent and relevant experience, and you will help thwart those potential assumptions.