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Having experience in a wide range of fields and industries shows your ability to learn, grow and accept new challenges. Hoping that an employer will know what to do with you, however, can be problematic unless you carefully target your resume to a specific position that an employer is looking to fill or to a problem you expect to solve.

If you have an accounting degree, have worked in several accounting-related positions and are looking for an accounting position, then your resume will be straightforward. If your academic background is in a scientific displine, you worked in healthcare for a few years and then transitioned into a non-healthcare related sales position, you should carefully present information and skills that are relevant to the position you are applying for. No recruiter will read through paragraphs of unrelated matter to figure out how to apply your skills.

Think of alternate ways to organize your resume so that relevant, or related, experience appears first. If you apply for a teaching position and there is no mention of teaching experience until the second page of your resume, you will likely be overlooked. Using headings like “teaching experience” and “other experience” allows you to show related experience early on your resume.

You may also need more than one version of your resume to fit each type of position you apply for. Recruiters scan though resumes very quickly and if you do not present the information they’re looking for in the role they are looking to fill in a readily visible place, you can bet they won’t take the time to read through the rest of your resume.

If you have held many types of positions but have transferable skills for the position sought, you want to provide a brief highlight section that mentions those transferable skills (which can often be obtained from job posting information).

For some applicants that don’t fare well in the rigid Applicant Tracking Systems that most employers use today, networking may be the best and only option.

Facing a unique formatting challenge that you need to overcome? Ask me!

Ellie Vargo, MRW, CCMC