One Person: Multiple Résumés
EACE Blog contribution by Beth Settje, Associate Director for the Center for Career Development at The University of Connecticut
One Person: Multiple Résumés
Do you encourage your students to update their résumés every semester, knowing they are constantly participating in activities that may be résumé worthy? When they look at you with a blank face, do you find yourself asking questions about projects, awards, clubs and jobs to jog their memories? I have found that in the résumé critique conversation, students will just remember something that they previously diminished as irrelevant, as now pertinent. They look confused and can’t believe they forgot about it. To help students keep better track of their experiences and see résumé writing as something positive and exciting, I present résumé development in a way that makes writing and updating the document more understandable.
As you will see below, there are three versions of the résumé, and once the first two are designed, the third is less intimidating. Breaking down the résumé writing process this way makes it much easier to tailor and update, because the writer is not always looking developing strong bullets each time it is updated, just for the Position Specific one.
The Master Résumé is just for the writer. It is a compilation of every job, activity or project students have completed, even including high school if desired. They don’t even have to use full sentences if they don’t want to, because no one else will read it, but encourage them to write enough detail so that later they aren’t confused about what they wrote down! Just remember to tell the students that every few months or semester at most, to add to it, as they take on a leadership role, join a club, find a job, volunteer or even do a class presentation. This résumé can be extremely long, because no one other than the writer will see it.
The Industry Variations version is where students start branching off into different ideas about how they can use their résumé. For example, if a person wants to work in advertising, at minimum there would be two résumés: one would be geared toward working in an advertising firm with many clients while the other will be directed toward an in-house agency. Though the work itself may be similar, the wording and order of the bullets can be different. The student pulls out the relevant experiences from the Master Résumé and places them in the appropriate Industry Variation version.
The Position Specific résumé is written when there is an actual position or reason to have the resume ready. To continue with the same student, if she/he finds a position in a large advertising agency, she/he can adapt the agency Variation Résumé, updating to fit this new position and tweaking to tailor it to this specific employer. It is much easier to adapt an Industry Variation résumé than a master one. The bullets are written with a specific audience/employer in mind, and the phrasing often can easily be adapted from the organization’s website or the written job description to highlight relevance.
When presenting this information to students, whether one-on-one or in a workshop, we see when they grasp the concept. We encourage them to work on their Master Résumé all the time and the Industry Variation versions when they have time, such as a weekend or semester break. We also emphasize that it is not an overnight process. Their stress level goes down and they can put time into developing strong, tailored bullets to secure an interview instead of worrying about what should be included, which can cloud their judgment at this point in the process. Try it with your students and see if you get the same results. In addition, I challenge you too – try it for yourself. Then you can tell your students from first-hand experience how much it can benefit them.
Beth Settje has been working in higher education for more than 20 years, and in career development four about 14 years, with a focus on internship and co-op development since 2005. Beth earned her BS in Business Administration from Arcadia University and her M.Ed. in College Student Personnel from the University of Maryland. Currently, Beth is the Associate Director for the Center for Career Development at The University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT. One of Beth’s favorite pastimes is speaking to, and writing about, career related topics, and she regularly presents at state, regional and national conferences on these subjects.