As job seekers, we’re forced to relive the resume revision process each time we apply for a new position. Our generic template is opened and ready for customization, but we’re forced to deal with the same troubling task: what to keep and what to cut. Many of us have colorful career pasts, littered with different occupations in varying industries that ultimately led to our chosen path. Cramming it all into a one-page document optimized for a specific role is no easy task, which brings us back to the million-dollar question: how should I revise this information?
The answer isn’t straightforward. The best course of action is to approach the process strategically and with an open mind. While many of those past jobs weren’t necessarily in your current field, they may be useful for showcasing your professional talent. In many cases, job seekers are able to leverage transferable skills acquired in other industries, and maybe even surprise a hiring employer with a new level of proficiency he hasn’t thought of yet. In short, take a look at your past and think creatively about how you can relate some not-so-obvious skills to the job you’re interested in.
Dwayne Johnson, more famously known as The Rock, is a great example of someone who capitalized on his past experience to penetrate a new discipline. After conquering the wrestling ring, Johnson went off to Hollywood to start acting. He starred in numerous action films and was on his way to becoming the next big thing. Johnson switched gears and began trying his hand at family films, some of which were admittedly less than great. However, despite ridicule from critics, these movies performed well at the box office and essentially helped enhance his profile as an actor, leading to new work and more roles.
Even if you aren’t proud of a position you once held or don’t think it holds any credibility in the field you’re in now, take another look. Turn every perceived negative into a positive to create a situation that can work for you. You’d be shocked at how many of your past positions are relatable. But because employers don’t like when candidates include everything in their resumes save the kitchen sink, it’s important to be selective about the skills and accomplishments you choose to highlight, and create a career history that makes sense to their unique hiring needs.
Now that you know how to strategically “cut and keep” when it comes to resume customization, it’s time you learn a thing or two about the job market. Our free “10 Pieces of Bad Career Advice” will get you started. In it, you’ll find that the media isn’t always right when it comes to issues of employment.