Advice on Creating a Winning Resume


This posting is a guest entry from the Career Doctor, Randall S. Hansen, PhD: Michelle writes: I have found my dream job, but I am having a hard time writing the “winning” resume. I had average grades in school, wasn’t in any sports, and I’m not a member of anything other than a women’s club (basically I’m on a list and get a newsletter, no involvement). I have a fairly steady work history, but all my jobs are ho-hum when it comes to accomplishments. Resume advice always says to quantify your successes. Well, I have been a pharmacy technician for 8 years … filling prescriptions and typing data into a computer — not too much to say about that. I was a data-entry person for about 1.5 years, and I don’t have a very good review from my boss in that area. I am currently an eligibility analyst (I look in a computer to see if a client’s files are loaded into our database) … Not too challenging.
The Career Doctor responds: There are all sorts of ways to “quantify” your successes and skills, but first you need to step back and do a better job of identifying what they are. You remind me of a young woman who came to us for advice after several years as of doing clerical and secretarial work. She thought her experience and skills were not going to help her get the job of her dreams, but she was wrong. What you need to do is change the way you look at your experiences. I suggest you read the section on transferable skills at Quintessential Careers, starting with Strategic Portrayal of Transferable Skills is a Vital Job-search Technique, by Katharine Hansen. I am quite confident that once you’ve read this section, you’ll be able to go back and write a strong resume based on your new understanding of your skills and accomplishments.