11 Feb Resume building – Tips for Career-change, Job-hopper & Year-breaks
Organizations today are increasingly valuing the diversity in terms of skill-set, way of thinking, cross-industry experience, age, etc. So, for a Job-hopper, or a Career changer or the one who has a year-break, it becomes very important to demonstrate the diversity they bring into the organization and how this helps them succeed in their role.
Take an example of a self-employed Fisherman, who wants a corporate job in other industry. It is a big career change decision. He looks up the newspaper and finds an interesting opportunity at a Sports & Fitness start-up that trains young people, and organizes events. He doesn’t have any professional work experience, or domain expertise. But, look at the description he gives about himself on his Resume:
“Athletic, and fit self-starter with extensive outdoor experience. Goal-oriented and hard-worker, with proven commitment to safety. Demonstrated ability to engage and cooperate with a variety of people. Handy with tools and mechanical equipment.”
This description does sound very much like a person fit to take up the role in a Sports & Fitness company. There is an important lesson in this, irrespective of what you’ve done in the past; there are some skills that hold good for several industries. It is all about being thorough with what is expected from a candidate applying to the role and linking your past experiences appropriately to suit the requirements.
You might have taken up different positions and not stayed in an organization for more than a year (job-hopped). Several things can be perceived out of it by an employer before he/she even listens to the reasons you state. There are few things that you can do on a Resume to give yourself a fair chance of attending an interview.
- Try and see if you can convey something out of the varied experiences you have. Write a strong objective stating different skills that you acquired. As Steve Jobs said, it’s all about connecting the dots backward. Connect the dots backward and see if you can find skills that match the current requirement.
- It is a good idea to not mention very short stints in between two different roles that you have taken up, unless there is something extraordinary that you don’t want to let go unnoticed.
- It is an added advantage if you have taken up roles with increased level of difficulty of performance. Convey it by arranging them in that order and phrasing the tasks you took up in each role in a way that they seem like an upward progression.
- Use the cover letter to state any reasons like lay-offs that were involuntary.
It has also become quite common to have a year-break in a career due to several reasons ranging from education, research, re-location, travel, etc. Reasons like education, research, sports, travel, etc. will add to your advantage if stated rather than omitted. The reason is that the skills that are acquired during these engagements add good value and are not common to everyone. If you went out to volunteer for an NGO, state how you helped them achieve their goals, built your network, engaged in addressing challenges, etc. Title year-break as ‘Sabbatical’ at the bottom of your resume and highlight it.
These are few tips that would add more value to the resume of a Job-hopper, or a Career changer or the one who has a year-break. They will help put you close to someone who is experienced or had worked in the same sector or had a no year-break career.
Abhishek Reddy M
Dr Reddy’s Foundation