How do I write a resume when I haven't worked in almost 17 years?
Post ReplyPost New TopicPosted 6/24/2011 by busyscrapmomma in NSBR Board
 

busyscrapmomma
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 6/24/2011 1:41:38 PM
Does the old job experience even matter? Do you still put it on a resume? Do I need to have an explanation of the lack of jobs?

I have held some volunteer positions with a few different organizations (Cub Scout sec/treas and PTO officer) Do these make a difference on a resume and where would you list them?

I really don't even know where to start. I have my education and job history info but am just overwhelmed coming up with a format that I like and making myself sounding marketable without sounding crazy LOL!

I really, really need to land a job here soon though so I definately need to plow through and get this done.

Thanks so much for any advice/tips you have to offer on how to make my resume work!


Paula
busy momma to my 4 sweeties!

lucyg819
pearl-clutching nitpicker

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Posted: 6/24/2011 1:49:08 PM
I did it, and got the job, although that was 12 years ago. I have to admit, I did have some freelance experience in related fields during the years when I wasn't working full-time.

The main thing I wanted to tell you was that I organized my resume into areas of skills/competencies, and then listed my skills in those areas and how I achieved them, whether through education/work/volunteer activities. I also listed my relevant education and work experience in the traditional way, although pretty abbreviated, since they were old.

They seemed happy to have me, even though I'd been out of the job market for such a long time (20 years). Being willing to work for almost nothing may have made a difference. But my pay climbed by 50% over 5 years, so it was worthwhile.

good luck!


LUCYG
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Gravity
PeaAddict

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Posted: 6/24/2011 1:49:44 PM
Start with your strongest selling point for the job you want. If it's your volunteer experience, then list that first. Then you can list your education, work experience, volunteer experience, etc.

Example

mama_chris76
AncestralPea

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Posted: 6/24/2011 1:55:01 PM
I am in a similar position. I'm looking, though I haven't found anything. I set my resume up so that my volunteer positions read as work experience. I listed my education first (around here the fact that I have a 4-yr degree makes a big difference), then my volunteer experience, treating each place just like I would a job, listing my duties and expertise, then I listed my largely irrelevant 10 year old work experience. I also briefly mention that I haven't worked due to caring for my young children in a cover letter.

The one interview I had, though, focused on that work experience and did not seem concerned with how long it had been since I was there.


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cdnscrapper
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Posted: 6/24/2011 1:56:22 PM
If you can visit your local library, there are tons of books out there that will walk you through making up a resume.

Susie_Homemaker
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Posted: 6/24/2011 3:03:31 PM
When I was in that position I googled 'how to write a resume' and then from there, there were a lot geared toward SAHMs or people who haven't worked in a long time. There's a lot of info out there.

I think what really got me the interview was that I had just finished two online classes. One for MS Word and one for MS Excel. I don't think they would have interviewed me if they thought my computer skills weren't current.

Oh, and I also put a footnote when I had a 4+ year gap between jobs that I had been staying home with our children, just so they'd know what had happened in those years.




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ravenmist23
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 6/24/2011 3:04:27 PM
If you live by your alma mather, you can contact your career services office to find out if they service Alumni career needs.

meridion
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Posted: 6/24/2011 3:04:56 PM
if you will peamail me your info (don't have to include your contact info, that's ok) I will rewrite it for you.



loridg
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Posted: 6/24/2011 3:28:44 PM
Thanks for asking this, I'm in the same boat and feel completely overwhelmed. I've been a SAHM for 13 years now and don't know where to begin, how to list all my PTA and volunteer work and make it relevant. It doesn't help that 3 of the last 4 companies I worked for before having kids have gone out of business and I have no way of contacting anyone for a reference. I like some of the ideas that have been posted and will be trying some of them.



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Skybar
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Posted: 6/24/2011 3:38:38 PM
very carefully





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meridion
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Posted: 6/24/2011 4:55:37 PM
You start with a bulleted list of your skills related to the kind of job you want to get. For just one example, say you were looking for a secretary type position, you would include yur typing speed. I dont know, depends on what kind of work you want to do. If you want to work in retial, then put in customer service.

So it would be

NAME (bold and bigger, 14 pt)
Address (12 pt, not bold)
phone
email address
portfolio or website, if it's that kinda job

SKILLS
* skill 1 (extensive customer service, 10 years office maangement experience, etc)
* skill 2
* skill 3

etc.

RELATED EXPERIENCE
put here if you have any, this format:
Name of Place or company or organization * city, state dates (rt flush)
Your title or a desriptive title
Some of your responsibilities and projects

RELATED EXPERIENCE
Central Valley Parent-Teacher Organization * Snowville, MN Aug 2005 - present
Vice President (Volunteer)
Ran annual candy drive for 260 students with annual revenues of $12,000, organized monthly PTO meetings blah blah blah, managed blah blah blah, greeted, covered, administered, pick a word

OTHER EXPERIENCE
anything not related, to show a work history with dates
Barista * Starbucks Coffee * Snowville, MN
Storyteller (Volunteer) * Snowville Public Library * Snowville, MN
etc

EDUCATION
Name of School * Location Date graduated
Name of Degree and Major

Basically, put your skills at top. Reorder them based on the job you are applying for. If the job is sitting in a room counting beans, don't put customer service skills on there. When you write a cover letter, explain you have been at home with the family but 1) active in the community or 2) doing volunteer work or 3) taking classes online or in a school or something for the past umpteen years but you are looking to go back to work.

anyway HTH somebody



meridion
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Posted: 6/24/2011 5:23:06 PM
If you have no work references at all I would say you need to have some kind of supervisory reference. Saying this as someone who just hired someone with a group of people all involved and what they were concerned with.

How to get one - you may have to volunteer for the summer. Local public library, local hospital, do a project for your local history museum, something. Something where you are showing up as scheduled and doing something for someone who works there, that person will be a refernece for you. Every dinky little town has a local history museum or a library. Explain you want to get back into working, you want to do some community service to get back in the swing, do they have a project you could do for a few months?

It doesn't have to be a big thing. I volunteered last summer for 2-3 hrs on Fridays eveyr 2 weeks at a place, and that went on my resume, the hiring manager specifically asked about it when she interviewed me. I asked the guy I did the work for, would you be a reference and he said yes. Then he could answer questions about me like, what kind of work did I do, what was I good at, was I reliable, would he hire me again, etc.

If you (anyone) can just figure out your skills and write them down in a list, skills you have from your volunteer commitments, that will help you a lot.

Managing money
Organizing events
Working with teams of people
Coming up with ideas and pulling them off

I volunteered for a local Boars Head (christmas dinner show) at my local church and managed the children who served the meal. It was just one month a year, for 2 shows. But I could say I had managed that whole aspect, kept track of who was doing what, arranged costumes, coordinated etc. So that kind of experience helps and it was one month a year, part time.



meridion
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Posted: 6/24/2011 5:23:53 PM
sorry about my typos, typing is def not one of my skills! hope you can read what I wrote ok.



busyscrapmomma
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 6/24/2011 6:08:33 PM
I'm glad to hear that I am not the only one so anxious over this. It seems like such a difficult thing when it shouldn't be, maybe it is the whole taking the big leap back into working that has me more worked up.

I really appreciate all of the advice and welcome any other suggestions. I will definately be using much of this!

Meridion--Thank you, I will email you when I get things a little better put together.


Paula
busy momma to my 4 sweeties!

newlaxfan2
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Posted: 6/26/2011 9:49:36 PM
I just skimmed over the responses so maybe someone mentioned this already, but this is when you do what's called a functional resume. It emphasizes skills, and de-emphasizes work experience.

Deigh PEA
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Posted: 6/27/2011 9:35:35 AM
Yes, the old jobs need to be included. Also you put down the years where you stayed home to take care of the kids, any volunteering, etc. The new employers need to know how long you worked at each job and why you were out of a job for so long.

Good luck!

ETA: Volunteering helped my daughter get a job. She'd been volunteering a lot and the employer said, "Well, it's about time you get paid for your time."


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BeckyTech
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Posted: 6/27/2011 11:20:10 AM
Meridion is right, translate your volunteer jobs into business terms: Organizing and running a committee = project management, teamwork, and organizational skills. Did you bring the project in on time and within/under budget? You can meet deadlines and manage budgets. Did you use software to track any of it? Specify.

Current/good computer skills should be played up. There are plenty of online classes, many of them free or low cost.
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