When writing a resume, we have a certain image of our career in mind, an image of how it has progressed, and what we have done. It is this version that we present to employers when we apply for a job.
But career counselor Penelope Trunk says that if we are looking to switch careers or change jobs, we need to reevaluate the standard interpretation of our career, the one we have always used.
There are different ways of looking at the same events, depending on what you want to highlight or what perspective you are looking from. And this is something that many job hunters overlook. They continue to tell the same story about their career, when what they need is a new narrative, which may be completely different, Trunk says.
It’s not like a math test, where there is a correct answer or version and an incorrect one. Depending on what you emphasize in your background, you can fashion your resume to fit multiple scenarios. As Trunk says there is “no one correct story of your life.”
Say, for example, that you worked in the human resources department, but that over time you became the IT expert for the department, mastering the applications and databases used. Although your field is human resources, you could just as easily fashion a resume highlighting your expertise in information technology.
Trunk’s plan to look at your life story for your resume is, first, to figure out where you would really like to be with your career. Then, think back over your life and what you have done, pulling out the things you have done that have a bearing on what you would like to be doing right now. Toss out everything on your resume that is not relevant to what you want to be doing right now. Then, pull things together – work backward in a sense from what you want to be doing right now, using all those things that relate and linking them together into your personal story, your personal narrative.
As Trunk says, the important thing to remember is that your career is not something static and immutable, but dynamic and something you control. You need to tell that story from different perspectives, and not let the one perspective that is your current resume rule your life.
Come to RealStreet Staffing when you’re looking for work in Washington, DC in the architecture, construction or engineering sectors and tell us the story of your career – we’ll help you take it to where you want to go! We look forward to hearing from you.