Skills Resume

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Skills Resume

Postby Kelly Ann » Wed Oct 06, 2004 10:40 pm

As I have been networking and revising my resume, I have received conflicting advice. Today a career counselor reviewing my resume recommended that I stick with the traditional format of a recent graduate (listing education first, followed by employment w/ individual lists of related tasks and skills). However, having previous industrial experience (between my degrees) it was previously recommended to me that I try a skills resume (listing techniques and other experience first followed by a short listing of my education and employment). Anyhow, having benefited previously from your networking and career track advice, I am wondering what you perceive as the advantages and disadvantages of a skills resume. I have seen them used more for transitioning between fields (and can definitely see using it if I go to business school or something). Personally, at this point (after 10 years in a lab ? albeit most of it has come concurrently with my schooling), I think that listing the skills first makes me stand out as I hope to obtain a scientist level position in industry even though I only have a masters. However, I am open to all recommendations.

Also, what are the rules for listing peace corp or missionary service that isn?t paid employment but if not mentioned could be perceived as a gap in employment but if listed could be used as a basis for discrimination.
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Skills Resume

Postby Dave Jensen » Thu Oct 07, 2004 1:59 am

Hi Kelly Ann,

I'll only provide a brief comment because I know that you've posted this same question elsewhere.

Professional HR people and recruiters see "skills based resumes" and they run in the other direction. They are used by "people with a problem." Outplacement offices recommend them for people who have been terminated or laid off, and they are sent off in giant mailings to employers from these companies. Career "counselors" and resume writers recommend them -- exactly why, I am not sure, because they are generally the worst way to be received at an emplöyer. Yes, sometimes there is no other alternative and they have to be used . . .

I would put the peace corps experience into the resume without a doubt, and your resume should have few if any gaps in it for time-employment. I have Mormon friends who always have this problem, and when they incorporate that experience into their resume, they find no one objecting.

We can talk more about other alternatives if you'd like to stick around our new forum.

Dave Jensen, Moderator
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Skills Resume

Postby Kelly Ann » Thu Oct 07, 2004 7:50 pm

Wow, I had no idea that a skills resume could be perceived as a sign of ?white-washing?. Several friends (previous co-workers) within industry recommended I try the format ? but I guess I?ll give more consideration to the traditional resume as I want to ?market myself? in the best way possible. Anyhow, I have a few more questions about the format of a resume. Being that I have similar experience in several positions, do I repetitively list those skills under the individual employment listings? Also, having had a graduate assistantship (doing both research and teaching assignments) do I list that under the employment or the education section? And, is there any disadvantage or advantage of listing relevant coursework under my degree information? I guess my concern is that I don?t want to overload my resume and really focus on the points that are most important to my next position (hopefully doing immuno-biochemical research in industry). If you have any suggestions for websites with appropriate guidelines, I suppose that would be the most helpful.

Also, I apologize for the dual posting ? it is an interesting transition to switch from a small forum (that mostly addressed the needs of the SF Bay Area) to a broader outlook. I am enjoying this setting and while I don?t have any particular suggestions, I hope the voices of the community continue to give words of wisdom. I have come to appreciate the moderaters? commentaries but I also have come to respect the opinions of participating members as I have read and participated in other career forums over the past three years (and I really don't want to loose those insights).
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Skills Resume

Postby Bill L. » Fri Oct 08, 2004 11:51 am

Hi Kelly Ann,

To answer your questions in order:

1. No, you don't have to repeat similar skills. One funny thing we see often at UCSF is our PharmDs will list multiple work experiences on their resumes: Job 1: Filled prescriptions. Job 2: Filled prescriptions. Job 3: Filled prescriptions.

After the first mention, it's better to use the your space to highlight other skills or experiences an employer might care to see.

In your case, you can also comprehensively address your skills in your "Qualifications" or "Profile Summary" sections with text like: 4 years of experience using X,Y, & Z techniques. Also you can also have a seperate "Techniques" section where you list all of the skills you'd like to highlight.

2. There are multiple ways to list your graduate assistantship work: You can use a one line bullet under the "Education" section to state that you were awarded a graduate assistantship, and then under "Relevant Employment", or whatever your heading is, give descriptive detail to help an employer understand what you did.

3. We've seen related coursework sections before, but it's best when it isn't obvious that your degree would require you to take that coursework. For example, as a chemist, the reader doesn't need to see that you took organic and inorganic chemistry.

Do check the Science NextWave Career Development resources: Here is the link for the search results under how to write great industry CVs:

Good luck!

Bill L. & Naledi S.
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