To me, the most critical part of finding an appropriate candidate for an open position cannot be judged by the number of years spent in school or within a certain industry. Granted, I don’t work as a hiring manager or recruiter, but common sense would tell me that there is so much more to finding a great fit for a position than things that can be measured on a piece of paper. At what point is this considered in your search for a candidate?
I spent my entire early 20’s as a financially independent young person. With the cost of living, i.e. rent, utilities, insurance, phone, etc., and no experience outside of my training for the Army Reserves, I took a job making $12 an hour. I worked 55+ hours a week to make ends meet. And although the cost of college courses was covered by the U.S. Army, how was I supposed to find the time to attend classes, when I HAD to work so many hours just to survive? Many nights my dinner consisted of black coffee. It was cheap and an appetite suppressant, so win/win. I did what I needed to do to be a good employee and support myself. What section of my resume should I insert that into?
I continued to push myself to learn new things and perform better than the rest, so I could advance myself in my career. I took a sales position with a small company that required no prior sales experience because I knew my dedication and hard work would help me excel in a position that would benefit exactly those two things. Now, when I say small company, it consisted of 25 employees at most, and was run by a gentleman who had a few less-than-honest ideas of how to run a business. But still I worked. I opened the office at 10 am and locked it up tight at 10 pm, 6 days a week. When I was promoted to manager, my duties gave me a better insight as to how the company was run. I struggled with my morals more than any young person should have to. Do I quit and risk becoming homeless or do I stay and overlook the many illegal tax practices and verbally abusive meetings? Once again, where shall I insert this into my resume?
I was lucky enough to find another sales position with a more stable, established company not long after I learned of the corrupt practices of my prior work place. I worked hard at my new position, and I performed well. Being that it was an established company, I finally learned what PTO actually meant. However, not long after my start there, I did that thing humans do and fell in love, had a beautiful little boy, and began to feel more than a bit guilty for the holidays and evenings that I missed with him because in sales, you must work to get paid. It was difficult even to take paid time off because although you may get your salary, your real money comes from commission, and how do you get that when you’ve decided to take a couple days at home with your family? I’ll answer, you come back to work and work a couple extra days to make up for it, which then comes from your family time. And on and on it goes. Should I use this part to explain why I left a prior position in my resume?
With my guilt for the lack of time I spent with my son looming over my head, I made the decision to scope out the job market again knowing that I would sacrifice some money for the extra time I may get with my son. “Holy heck!” How was I supposed to get a job outside of sales? How was anyone supposed to get a job outside of sales? You want a formal degree AND 10+ years of experience? And you want to pay your candidate $45-$50k per year? “Sorry my son, you’ll just have to get used to seeing me on Sundays.”
However, I came across a job posting for an Executive Admin. position. I read the description of job duties and knew right away that I was more than capable of performing all those tasks needed and then some. The recruiter was very specific, he wanted an e-mail with your resume, and a voicemail left for him, so he could hear your speaking voice. He also wanted a Bachelor’s degree and 10-15 years’ experience as an Executive Asst. *Sigh* “Oh what the heck,” I took a chance. I followed his directions precisely. When I called to leave him a voicemail, he picked up the phone. We spoke for a bit about unrelated things (the job market, the economy, and the military). He pulled up my resume while I was on the phone with him. Then he told me what I knew he would, “Miss, your resume does absolutely nothing for you.” I explained to him that I knew that *Sigh* Then he said that word that we usually all hate. “But.” He goes on, “But you seem to have a good grasp on things.” He took a chance. I was brought in for some testing, IQ, MS Word, Excel, Office, PowerPoint. He said I performed better than all of the other candidates. Shortly after, I interviewed with my now boss, the North American CEO of a global company. I was offered the job the same day. Can I put this part on my resume?
I’ve been with my company now for 2 years. I’ve loved every second of it. Shortly after starting my role as Executive Administrator and mastering it, I was given project management duties to satisfy my appetite to grow and learn. Now, due to circumstances that legally, I cannot disclose, I’m back in the job market, and the recruiter that placed me last time, the one that knows what I’m capable of, has moved on to a bigger and better role, rightfully so. However, here I am, in the same boat. No degree, 2 years of experience doing what I love, and no way to make a case as to just how capable I can be. Even my boss, in all his CEO glory, cannot offer a great recommendation without at least some interest in me from a hiring manager or recruiter. But how can my resume really do what I need it to do so that someone takes a moment to at least talk to me? How did my worth, my future, and the next person’s, come to be dictated by a piece of paper?