General Question

tinyfaery's avatar

Can I please have your opinion regarding a few job search matters?

Asked by tinyfaery (36135 points ) March 23rd, 2011

1. I have about 5 years of experience doing all kinds of admin work. I have about 5 years of experience as a youth/crisis counselor. I have two different resumés, one for each job category. My problem is both resumés have gaps due to the fact that I was doing work that does not apply to the job I am searching for, so it looks like I spent years unemployed, on both resumés. Once I get an interview I can explain this, but I am concerned that upon first read an employer might get the wrong idea about my employment history. What can I do about this? Should I worry about it, or is it insignificant.

2. I am going to be going to school while working, with hopes of transferring to a vet or animal science program in about 1½ -2 years. Assuming I get a job that is not involved with animals in some way, should I tell my potential employer about my plans, plans that don’t include their field in any way, and then leaving? Should I lie and say I want a place I can move-up…blah, blah, blah.? I am unsure how to approach this. Advice?

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16 Answers

tedd's avatar

1) Don’t worry that your previous work experience may not directly apply to the type of job you’re looking for. As you pointed out, years of unemployment looks a lot worse. Word your description of your duties to be as pertinent to the job you’re applying for as possible. For example I applied for a safety rep position once. I had 6 months working at UPS, totally unrelated. But I pointed out that I was partially responsible for ensuring following proper safety procedures, including work with hazardous materials (when in reality I was mostly just loading them into trucks and eyeballing to make sure they belonged). Even if you can’t make it sound like it applies in some way, the employer will like that you were able to hold down a job for 5 years (it would be different if it was like 4 months or one year). This is especially true of managerial or supervisory positions, as it shows you can be trusted with responsibility (even if the job is completely unrelated).

2) You should avoid telling your employer any “for sure” future plans like that. You can tell him you’re looking at getting into vet work or animal science, leave out the time line. You should portray that you are only interested in this position, and it is your primary goal. Nothing else matters to them. The exception to this is if the position you’re applying for is basically regarded as temporary anyways. If for example its a six month contract position, I wouldn’t be afraid to point out that in a year I’m looking at going to school in another state or applying for jobs in another field. Just be sure to point out that if you really enjoy the job you are more than open to staying in the field past that six months (even if you’re not interested).

bolwerk's avatar

1) Include what experience you can, and tailor your resume for every job application. If it doesn’t look like it applies, try to make it look like it applies (but make sure you don’t lie).

2) Unequivocally: no, don’t tell him. No, don’t lie. Say you plan to hang around, and mean it. If you don’t hang around, it’s because circumstances change. Unless you sign a contract that says otherwise, you still have the right to leave with two weeks notice.

CaptainHarley's avatar

1. I would make a third resume and seek an admin job with a youth/crisis center. I would also insert some innocuous phrase for the period when you weren’t working in either of those areas, something like “working in alternate field to add to my marketability.”

2. No. Work around it somehow. After all, you may have to stay there longer than you think.

3. Free recommendation: get a copy of What Color Is Your Parachute and follow the book’s suggestions!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I think they’re more interested in seeing that you’ve been gainfully employed in whatever capacity. Listing all of your work experience shows that you have a good work ethic. My resume was all OVER the board! I once applied as a secretary at a law firm. Got an interview and the attorney doing the hiring called my resume “impressive.” I didn’t get the job though. Some sister of a friend of a brother got it….and so it goes.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I guess I am too old-fashioned to know that a person should have resumes tailored to the job they are applying for. In my day, that would be considered lying. “In the good ol’ days” you listed your work history truthfully and listed every single job you had, whether it pertained to the job you are presently applying for or not.

optimisticpessimist's avatar

I also agree that you do not leave out any work experience. Many things you do in one field do cross-relate. Being in admin previously is relevant to almost any position as many positions have administrative duties embedded. I have been over-qualified for many jobs I have had. The fact I have had other jobs with more responsibilities has never been a problem.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@tinyfaery Usually this discrepancy of time is usually addressed in the cover letter. I would definitely have two separate resumes. I would also prepare two different cover letters explaining what you did with your time between jobs.

This can, of course, be addressed in the interview process as well.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The only thing I ever tailored was my objective. The rest of my resume stayed the same, until my experience changed.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Dutchess_III Have you worked in two extremely separate career paths?

@tinyfaery One, I was a hiring manager. If the resume is free of typos and fits the job requirement, they will read the cover letter.

Two, I have assisted my husband through his various resume needs. If you have two separate areas of expertise, you need two separate resumes.

How to address the future? You don’t need to. As @CaptainHarley said above, you may be there longer than you think.

If you get an interview with a place you’d like to work, be enthusiastic. Also, question the interviewer about the work environment. Make certain during the interview process that it will be a a good fit for you to want to stay for 2–3yrs.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Let’s see. I went from Boeing Computer Services to a stay at home mom, to running my own daycare full time, to teaching, then into a couple of different customer service positions, then into banking as a teller, and then I owned my own lawn mower repair shop and now…I’m teaching again! Yep!

marinelife's avatar

1. You need to put the jobs on each resume, just re-write the descriptions to emphasize the focus of that resume. For example, any administrative tasks that you did in the counselor jobs.

2. Do not tell you future employer that you plan to leave to become a vet. You don’t know what will happen in two years. You may leave to become a vet or you may not. The employer is not entitled to know your future plans.

3. If it seems like it would matter to the hiring process, i would say you are looking for a job with opportunities for advancement (even if you decide not to take advantage of them).

augustlan's avatar

All jobs on both resumes, tailoring the skills/experience to best reflect each career path.

I wouldn’t tell them about your future plans.

Edit: In fact, my resumes group my skills at the top of the page, under “Summary of Qualifications” (this is where you do your tailoring), and then all employment history is listed chronologically (most recent first) farther down.

bolwerk's avatar

Yeah, @augustlan is right. I would even say, unless the employer demands it, don’t even bother with the “objective.” Nobody really cares, and means a high probability of you just saying you have an “objective” that it out of line with the employer’s objective, and you might not even have a way to know what those objectives are if you’re in an administrative position.

I would suggest looking for resumes on business school web sites, and tailoring one of those. But tailor the content a bit each time you apply to a different position. It’s also important to pay a lot of attention to the cover letter (treat it like a sales pitch).

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