Aren’t you glad that we live in the digital age? The focus is slowly shifting from traditional jobs to online workplaces.
Why is that good news?
Nobody really cares that much about resume gaps. Moreover, there is less emphasis on which high school you attended. Those are all “technicalities” today. Employers are, even, significantly less interested if you went to university.
Of course, this is mainly the case when it comes to online work.
So, what do they care about?
Your hard and soft skills.
And the soft skills? This is more about those skills that make you the awesome employee that you are. Soft skills include communication skills, problem-solving, and the like.
You may be looking at these and thinking how rusty you are since you’ve spent so much time at home, not honing your skills.
That’s understandable. You’ve been parenting!
Let’s look into that a bit more. What does that even mean? Well, several amazing things:
- It means you have carefully planned your budget and your family meals.
- It means you have created airtight schedules for meals, driving to preschool, sports, and other extra activities.
- It means you have hosted more than one amazing event.
Now, take a look at these three bullet points and read only the phrases in bold. Not so bad, is it?
Your New Resume: Where to Start?
First of all, pick your resume type. There are many types to choose from these days. Don’t feel overwhelmed, you don’t have to do a test on resume types!
You just need to skim through the pros and cons of using them. That is the best way to pick the one you need. These are the most common types of resumes:
There are two opinions when it comes to resume type choice. There is one group of experts who say that a functional resume is the way to go.
They point out the emphasis on skills. Another advantage is a better chance to blur out any resume gaps.
Another popular opinion is that you should not use the functional resume because it makes it seem like you are hiding something.
It is the same group of people who claim that honesty is the best policy. They are right, but using the functional resume type is not the same as being dishonest.
The choice of a resume should be your judgment call.
So, rather than giving you some advice about your entire resume, let’s break it down to resume elements and talk about them.
When you choose your resume type, it will be easy to assemble a great resume using these elements.
Resume Elements for All Resume Types
You will always need to list your contact information in your resume. List a phone number that you can be reached at constantly, as well as your active email address.
Create a business email address that looks professional. Don’t use fun and witty usernames. We all have that first email address from ages ago.
You’ve probably created it, as well. Something like [email protected]. Somehow, you kept using it and here we are.
Well, ditch it. Create a new, professional-looking email address that you can use for business purposes only.
It is a good idea to include your LinkedIn account, as well. Make sure you have crafted it well and that the information in there matches your resume.
Now let’s look into other resume elements:
This is the resume version of an elevator pitch. Only shorter. You have around 5 seconds to wow your resume reader.
Display your skills, professional achievements and everything else that makes you great. Do it all in two to three sentences! Can you do it?
You can! It takes a bit of practice and brainstorming, but it is possible.
When you think about your career and your success, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?
“I’ve been off work for two years! I have NO professional achievements!”
Yes. A lot of stay-at-home parents think that first. They think they have nothing to offer because of their employment gap.
That’s not true. You have two options:
- Remember your career before your pause and think about your professional achievements from that period.
- Focus on all the great skills that you have gained during your stay-at-home parenting period.
Truth be told – you can do both!
However, don’t focus on the fact that you were off the job market for so long and that you are hoping to find new employment. That is too much like begging for a chance. Don’t do this:
Former office assistant hoping to jumpstart find a new job. Stay-at-home mom. Team worker with great organizational skills.
Instead of that attitude, show that you are ready for new challenges and that you are back in the game.
Tech-savvy office assistant with 10+ years of experience. Successfully handled companies with over 100 active contracts. Ready to use experience and training for maximum results in a new workplace.
Take a page from a targeted resume rule book for these sections. List your work experience and your skills so that they contain keywords from the job description.
Don’t worry, it sounds much more complicated than it really is. Let’s just do an example.
So, let’s see what we have here. Let’s start with keywords that can be used for work experience:
- Data entry
- Event planning
- Project assistance
- Email management
- Social media management
OK, now let’s see what keywords can be used to list your skills:
- Time management
- (friendly, professional) communicator
There are some keywords, of course, that can fit into both categories. Use them anywhere you like.
Now, take a look at these keywords and underline those that you have. When you do that, try and describe your previous work experience by using these keywords.
For example, you won’t say this:
- Conducted all online correspondence on behalf of the company.
You’ll put this as one of your skills:
- Established effective and reliable email management
You get the drift.
That is how you should formulate your bullet points that list your skills and your experience. Now, it is up to you whether you want to list your work experience chronologically or simply focus on the skills alone.
Even though it is less likely that your employer will care about your high school or SAT score, they will still want to see some proof of your education.
Surely, there are no colleges for virtual assistants, but having a BA means you are ready to put in some serious effort and dedication into your improvement.
Moreover, you might have attended some courses that are directly related to the position you are applying for. You can list that as “relevant courses”.
For example, let’s say you attended Concordia University, St. Paul and you got a B.A. in Business.
There are some courses you could list, and present yourself as a better match for assistant jobs. Who wouldn’t want an assistant with these skills:
Your traditional education is not the only relevant training. You should list all the relevant online courses you took which are related to the job you want to pursue.
Don’t have such training under your belt? No problems.
Check out the Small Revolution courses and you’ll definitely find something that works for you.Credit: freepik by katemangostar