A former manager who is VP of a company, and whose wife is a recruiter, perused my current resume and advised me that most recruiters would not even consider it. Why? Because it has “employment gaps.” Except it doesn’t. It’s a matter of presentation. I have technical/relevant employment on top, so the most recent thing is 2011-2012, and the most recent thing before that ends in 2008.
However, following a skills section, there is a “recently” section that shows my current job at FedEx, started in 2008, and lists freelance work that is technical and relevant… and through this year.
So much for emphasizing the technical part! I downplayed FedEx because it’s not like the others, no matter how much I love the place. I hesitated to put the freelance stuff front and center because I perceive it as the kind of thing one might do exactly because of gaps. The proverbial “consultant” thing. But real, if modest.
On top of all this, I have fretted about my skills section, up to and including whether there even should be a skills section. If I describe the work just so, wouldn’t most of the skills come through there? Oh, some might need to be stated or recapped, but that’s brief, compared to what I’d built, extrapolating from early resumes when it seemed important to emphasize computer skills and that I had experienced certain software. Most notably, then, was the presumed requirement to know Lotus 1-2-3 to be taken seriously for accounting work. Building that section landed me instead in technical support. Welcome, if unexpected. It was a career option not on my radar whatsoever then. I can’t help thinking that there are options now that are not on my radar, but that a clever reader of my resume might invite me to consider. Yet things seem so… mechanized… these days, I would be surprised. Indeed, I could be forgiven for writing at least one version of my resume specifically for algorithmic consumption.
So yeah, skills probably should no longer consist primarily, for me at least, of a series of lists of software and technologies that I have used or supported. Reviewing that section, I was struck by the degree to which my overwhelming emphasis was on depth of experience. Hey look, I have been a this forever! That might not be what a reader takes away, but instead it may be “so what if you know all this obsolete stuff.” But… but… I can extrapolate! The depth and extent of my experience makes me almost intuitive! Nope, not what our machine gatekeepers will parse from it, nor what humans might clearly see, potentially a double fail.
At the same time, I have long worried my work experience gets short shrift. XTreme Computing was many years, various projects and clients, plus running things overall, yet it’s a few terse lines. Well written, if I do say so, evocative, perhaps, but far from complete. So I set out to rewrite all that. I am finding it difficult to focus in the cotext of Word and the existing material staring me in the face. It pays to start verbose and edit down. It might be worth having a context where I can muse about each thing.
Thus I am going to write a series of posts, at the risk of being too detailed or open. This is merely the post to introduce those, explaining what I am doing and why, and incidentally getting the mood in place for myself. Here goes…