Incorporating Nontraditional Experience in Resume


This posting is a guest entry from the Career Doctor, Randall S. Hansen, PhD: Julie writes: I have been unemployed for a little over a year, but I have been doing all the paper work for my husband’s business he has on the side. I also live on a farm. So I really haven’t been employed. How would I add this in my resume? If I leave it off they will think I haven’t been working.
The Career Doctor responds: You have to remember, Julie, that you determine how you frame your experience — both on your resume and in job interviews. The employer is not a mind-reader, so unless you showcase your experience, skills, and accomplishments, you are not going to get many interviews. So many job-seekers are in a similar situations as yours. Perhaps they worked for a family business, perhaps it was volunteer work, or perhaps it was taking a year off to go back to school…But what you and all these other job-seekers don’t understand is that all these things add up to your specific mix of skills and abilities. Employers are more interested in job-seekers that have been doing something during a hiatus from full-time, paid employment than job-seekers who appear to have been doing nothing, What’s the answer? Don’t discount any of the year that you’ve been working on the farm and helping your husband’s business. Instead, embrace that experience. Find experience, skills, and accomplishments that you can pull from the past year’s work. If you find the experience doesn’t quite fit into a neat career path, then consider experimenting by supplementing your conventional chronological resume with a chrono-functional style. What’s the difference? Chronological resumes focus on your job history while chrono-functional resumes focus on specific (transferable) skills sets you’ve mastered. Read more in these articles published on Quintessential Careers: Should You Consider a Functional Resume? and Strategic Portrayal of Transferable Skills is a Vital Job-search Technique. You can also find many more resume-related articles and tutorials in the Resume Resources section of Quintessential Careers.