Dear Sam: I am within my first five years post-undergrad. I am an officer in the U.S. Army Reserves and a civilian employee with the government. I am contemplating making a move to the civilian sector; however, my combined military service and civilian occupations span many specialties. As an officer, I have worked in logistics and public relations—in leadership roles—both stateside and in combat. As a civilian, I work in human resources and pay administration in a non-supervisory position. How and what should I include in my resume? –Laura
Dear Laura: Wow, that is a diverse background! First, thank you for your service to our country. Now, to answer your question. What you should include versus omit depends entirely on what you want to pursue next. You will, of course, want to include all of your positions, but you can strategically tailor the content in the way it best supports your candidacy. A resume is a picture of your background written in a way that positions you best for what you want to do next. So, if the logistics aspects of your experience do not support your current career target(s), then you can certainly put those on the back burner or omit entirely.
What I imagine will need to happen Laura is that you will have to develop two or perhaps three solid versions of your resume. The first might be more operationally focused, the second in the PR and communications arena, and the third presenting your human resources skill set. You could develop one principal resume—with each area of your experience introduced with a functional subheading—and then reprioritize content based on the type of role to which you are applying. In each resume, you would also want to build a targeted qualifications summary. This approach will allow you to present the focused picture critical to success in today’s job market while also keeping your options as open as possible. Best of luck.
Dear Sam: My son will be completing graduate school this winter. He sent me his resume to review as he wants to begin his job search soon. He desires to find a full-time position, ideally with a college or professional team, as a strength and conditioning coach. From his resume, you can see that he has had some outstanding internships and is currently a graduate assistant at his university. I am interested in seeing if the resume he sent me represents him and his experiences in the most robust way possible to get the attention he will need to attract a full-time position in this field. – R.
Dear R.: I think your son is exceptionally well qualified to enter his chosen field. I am not sure if I have ever seen anyone having completed five internships and three other professional experiences before graduation! He has done a great job qualifying himself for target jobs. What I think could make a difference on his resume is providing a summary of his experiences. I say this as reading through eight positions is somewhat cumbersome, and I do find myself getting a bit lost in a sea of words that don’t capture my attention. I think if he had a summary, it would better convey the cumulative value of his experiences. Other things he could use to better engage the reader would be adding some color, perhaps using logos of the great places he has worked, and utilizing excerpts from any of his letters of recommendation. I think his resume needs to come alive given his field, show a little more personality, and demonstrate the value in the depth and breadth of experience he has gained.