When my wife and I got married, we moved out of our respective domiciles and into our new home. It was a bear of a move. I remember saying to myself, “I never knew I owned this much stuff!”
And so it is with your career. It is absolutely amazing how much experience you can accumulate in a short amount of time. If you were to look back on the last twelve months of your employment,
· How many different projects did you work on?
· How many audits/reviews did you prepare for?
· How many working relationships did you have to coddle?
· How many glitches did you have to delve into just to get things moving again?
· How many new people were you introduced to?
· What were your victories? What were your defeats?
In the course of a year, it is amazing how much we have done. Now do it for the last X years of your career. You have done a lot more than you think you have.
All of this experience can be extremely valuable when you are job searching. As I have told so many job seekers, the likelihood of any job seeker getting a job that exactly mirrors their experience to date is near zero. It is highly likely that you will have to draw on the peripheral work you have done to get under the wire. In this economy, this is doubly important yet, all too often, job seekers under sell themselves. They have a few resumes and share the resume which most closely matches the position they are pursuing. Here at JobTabs we call this, The Highway to Hell.
Taking a written inventory of your accomplishments is extremely important. The best way to do this is to develop a master resume. A master resume isn’t a resume that you would actually send to anybody. It is used only to list everything you have ever done at any company. It is your personal checklist to jog your memory to see what you can come up with to be as close of a fit as possible for any job listing in which you have an interest. A master resume has no facilities you would use in a Functional Resume. It is purely chronological and used purely for your reference. There is no page limit; the longer the better. Ultimately, you want to use your master resume to copy specific accomplishments for pasting into resumes you are tailoring for a specific job. Remember, there is rarely – if ever – any job you are going to be applying to that mirrors exactly what you have been doing, so you have to be able to draw on all of your experience.
Describe each accomplishment in your master resume much as you would a regular resume. You want to be able to copy and paste from your master resume into a resume that you would send to the employer. If you do not put everything on your master resume, it is likely that you will forget what you accomplished and that hard earned work experience will be lost forever.
In addition to listing all all of your accomplishments, you may want to do the following.
If you have enough bullet points, it will be easier to add a tag to them to make them easier to find. Consider adding tags for leadership skills, financial skills, team building skills, managerial, helping skills, technical skills, etc. These could help you find specific experience more easily.
Add notes to yourself.
Add extra details about the specific accomplishment to include anything an interviewer might ask you. If an interviewer asks you how you quantified a certain accomplishment you want to be confident as to how you came up with those figures. Again, you are not going to include the calculations on the resume you send to the employer, but if asked in the interview you don’t want to appear unsure as to how you arrived at those figures. Add notes about people involved in the project. If there is someone who would be happy to attest to what you did, you could add their name and contact info if you need to use them as a reference. Put these notes in a different font or color so that they stand out from the body of your resume. You don’t want to risk pasting them into your real resume accidentally.
The experience that you have garnered over the course of your career is important. To let your accomplishments slip into the ether because you didn’t remember doing it is foolhardy. It can make the difference between getting the interview or getting passed over. Take inventory of your career and you will be prepared for life.
John Coffey is the President of JobTabs, LLC. Through JobTabs Job Search & Resume, thousands of job seekers have taken control of their destiny in finding new and fulfilling careers. JobTabs Job Search & Resume motivates job seekers by making the job search easier by a huge order of magnitude. John Coffey can be reached via his website at JobTabs Job Search & Resume, by email via jpcoffey at jobtabs.com, and by phone at 404-255-0248.