Don’t Let Your Résumé Hold You Back

I love to consider words and anagrams, and hidden or perhaps unobvious meanings of words.

Some examples:

Roomba (the floor-cleaning robot) is an anagram of a broom.
Goal is an anagram of gaol (an alternate spelling of jail).
Safe is both an adjective and a noun.

The word résumé popped into my head earlier this week. When you sit down and think about it, that seems to be an interesting word too. Like safe, this word is also both a noun and a verb.

We’ll often write this word without the accents (resume). But even with the accents (due to its french origin), the noun resume (or résumé) pretty much equates to its verb: to resume. …Let me explain.

A resume/résumé is, essentially, a document that indirectly conveys intent to resume similar work in the future as one has already performed in the past. So in this sense, if you’re wanting to forge a new trajectory for yourself and seek work that is vastly different from your experience, a résumé can indeed seem to hold you back.

If you’re logical or practical minded, you might feel like you’ll only ever be qualified to take on work similar to what you’ve already done in the past. And in fact, relying on a résumé to seek gainful employment might even be interpreted as an intention to remain rooted to that past; it might prevent you from exploring a new career path you’re drawn to.

So if you’re wanting to break into a new field, how can you get around this résumé hurdle and give yourself some positive forward moment?

I haven’t yet tried this in terms of transitioning careers, but it’s definitely a possibility I’ve been considering in the back of my mind. So what would I do? Essentially, the approach I would take is to write a descriptive paragraph of each job I had thus far, listing the tasks and duties for which I was responsible, while simultaneously being sure to highlight or bold any tasks that could somehow be interpreted as being valuable experience for the new job or field in which I was seeking work.

If any correlation of the old tasks to the new would-be tasks wasn’t immediately obvious, I would briefly connect the dots for the would-be résumé reader as well. I figure that way, I could at the very least start to veer myself in the direction of the new field and instigate a little positive forward momentum in that direction.

Another approach could be to find someone who is willing to write glowing letters of recommendation on your behalf, and to ask if that recommender can sprinkle in some kind of verbiage or hints pertaining to the new field you’re hoping to transition to.

And yet another approach I could take would be to volunteer in some type of organization that is rooted to or associated with the new field of work I’d want to explore. Typically, volunteering shows sincere interest in that field, and it could act as a stepping stone to alter my (or your) course and veer in that new direction.

I could see these approaches being useful for someone who’s just starting out in the working world, too. Even if you don’t have any official work experience yet (in any field), this could be adapted to apply to a résumé. You can list experiences from school, community, home, and so on.

The first job I applied for was actually not an entry-level minimum wage job, and I got it – even though I was still in high school. I’m pretty certain that listing my years of involvement in student council and my volunteer experience at a museum’s science exhibit – in addition to being a member of the group Young Scientists of Canada – helped to establish me as someone who was committed, reliable, dependable, and smart.

No matter what your age, I honestly think it’s never too late to explore a new field of work or a new career. As for myself, I’d love to experiment combining two would-be careers and see how that turns out.

I’ve often wondered how my life would have evolved had I pursued sciences instead of theatre during my university days. I love and cherish what I’ve learned and experienced in the realm of theatre and drama, but there’s still a part of me that yearns to explore a science-related field as well. I think I’m particularly drawn to explore combining these two fields by writing plays and screenplays that dramatically and thematically explore elements of scientific theory in a subtle yet very intelligent and artful way.

What’s your path not taken? Do you ever feel like you’d like to change your course and explore a new direction?

What are your passions?

Don’t let your résumé hold you back.


One thought on “Don’t Let Your Résumé Hold You Back

  1. Mikhail

    Great observation, Rachelle! This also gave me a thought about the best way to conduct interview for a particular job function. What if the candidate does not have required skills yet but on active learning path? So he does not want to resume (continue) to follow the old career path. In such case a resume (CV) is useless.

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