Was That Job Résumé-Worthy?
If you have had any of the typical high school or college part-time jobs, chances are you look back at one or two of them and ask yourself, “Should I even put that job on my résumé?”
The answer is, “That depends.” Mostly, it depends on two things:
- How much total work experience you have, and
- How much of your experience is directly related to the job for which you are applying.
If you have a bunch of relevant experience, good for you. By going into some detail about those positions and your accomplishments while in them, employers should be able to make the connection between what they are looking for in a candidate and what you have to offer. So, when it comes to listing your “less relevant” jobs, you can use a streamlined format like –
ASU Facilities, San Angelo, TX
Sept. 2014 – May 2015
Sally’s Kitchen, Dallas, TX
But, if these are pretty much the only types of jobs you’ve held, you need to describe your duties and accomplishments in a manner that gets across your transferable skills.
What Are Transferable Skills?
In the world of work, transferable skills are skills you used and/or gained at one job that are valued by employers for other jobs. According to a survey conducted by NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers), the 10 skills employers say they seek, in order of importance, are:
- Ability to work in a team structure
- Ability to make decisions and solve problems (tie)
- Ability to communicate verbally with people inside and outside an organization
- Ability to plan, organize and prioritize work
- Ability to obtain and process information
- Ability to analyze quantitative data
- Technical knowledge related to the job
- Proficiency with computer software programs
- Ability to create and/or edit written reports
- Ability to sell and influence others
Look at that! If you’ve spent any time as a server or in retail sales, you’ve demonstrated at least half those skills doing your job.
Which Skills Should I Include In My Résumé?
Use the job posting as your guide to which skills, duties and accomplishments to highlight. Yes, it takes more time to tailor your résumé for each job, but a tailored résumé is far more likely to make a positive impression on a potential employer and result in an invitation to interview than a generic résumé with no focus.
How Do I Tailor My Résumé?
There are three primary ways or sections in which you “sell” your related skills and accomplishments. Your choices are:
- Summary of Qualifications section,
- Profile (or Skills) section, and/or
- Position description with bulleted statements.
How Do I Tailor My Bulleted Statements?
Weak bulleted statements like these for a waitress/waiter position won’t “sell” you or your skills:
- Took food and drink orders
- Served food
- Processed payment
But, by using the O*NET Online and borrowing phrases from a couple of different titles, you’ll get across the scope of being a server, be able to tailor your résumé and sell your skills:
- Answer questions regarding menu items and make recommendations to meet customer’s needs and/or preferences. (modified from Retail Salesperson)
- Check with customers to ensure they are enjoying their meals and take action to correct any problems. (Waitress/Waiter)
- Train new hires in service, health and safety procedures and policies. (modified from First-Line Supervisors of Food Preparation and Serving Workers)
Look how these bulleted statements satisfied six of the 10 skills employers seek:
- #1 “train new hires”
- #2 “correct any problems”
- #3 “train new hires” and “answer questions”
- #5 “meet needs and/or preferences”
- #7 “procedures and policies”
- #10 “make recommendations”
So, when trying to determine whether or not to include a job on your résumé, remember to refer to the job posting to identify what skills the employer is seeking and to think about which (transferable) skills you used in past positions. And, don’t forget that the staff in your Career Development office is here to help you. Come see us in Room 107 of the Houston Harte University Center.