How Do I Highlight My Experience On My Resume When It’s All Over the Place?

Anthony Roberts

Every job you’ve had has included about 25 mini jobs within them.  You’re a jack of all trades and master of none.  You’ve worn so many hats that you don’t remember what your hair looks like.

When applying for a new job or making a career change, many people struggle with what to highlight from their previous experience.  A lot of times this is because they’ve done so many different things that they don’t know what to actually focus on or what would be important to an employer.

Keep in mind that those “duties as assigned” on pretty much any job description are great opportunities in the long run. By summarizing them in the right way, you can show an employer how much more they’re getting by hiring you over someone else.

I’ve done a lot of stuff with stuff and don’t even remember half the stuff
This is a great time to mention why it’s important to keep your resume updated regularly.  You’d be surprised how quick a year goes by and how many different things you did in that year.  Maybe you joined a new committee at work, learned a new system, or completed a big project with quantifiable results that would be good to highlight.

Updating your resume on a consistent basis is a great way to make sure you aren’t forgetting things later when you go back to it.  As you gain experience and take on additional responsibilities at work, keeping up on them and adding them as you go allows you to pick out the important details while they are fresh in your mind.

The more you have to start with, the better off you are when picking out what you’ve gained from your experience.

I added all my stuff, so what do I do with it now?
In terms of a resume and what to highlight to an employer, you may want to come up with a professional summary or career highlights section for your resume.  If you’ve had a wide range of experience, you want to be able to highlight some of your key accomplishments.

An employer wants to know your successes.  If you can show them you were successful in a variety of jobs, then you are showing them that you are versatile and can take on many different challenges.

A summary can include things that would be beneficial to know right off the bat about you and what you’ve done such as management and training experience, areas of expertise, business and/or technical acumen, and any other skills or experience that tell them who you are.  This section then gives them a snapshot of you that will encourage them to read on.

It’s also important to have a good knowledge base about the company and position you are applying to so you can understand what’s important to them to know initially.  Let them know right away that you are a match for their requirements, and then you can wow them with everything else you’ve done.

How much other stuff should I tell them on my resume?
After getting the summary together and polished, the rest of your work experience will include a few bullet points for each job highlighting some of your key contributions and achievements.  You don’t need to tell them every single detail about your previous jobs, but you want to highlight your successes and what you gained from each position.

So, you’ve done 25 mini jobs at every job you’ve had, tell them what the most important ones were at each.  Tell them the things you did that highlight how you built relationships, led a team, communicated effectively, achieved high end results on a project, went above and beyond what was asked of you.

Is that it?  What about everything else I’ve done that isn’t on my resume?
If you have a strong summary and quality bullet points for your work history that highlight accomplishments, you have what an employer wants to see.  Don’t worry about the fact that you can’t fit everything you’ve ever done on your resume.

Most people could fill an entire page describing one job if they really wanted to and thought about everything they’ve ever done there.  You want to give the employer your highlights and background in order to have them invite you for an interview.

The resume is for the most important things you bring to the company, and the interview is for you to tell them more of your story.  Just remember to really focus on what is most relevant to that employer’s needs.

Your resume content should be tailored to the employer so they don’t have to look through it hunting for the information they need.  The easier you make it for them, the better your chances are for talking to them in person at an interview.

About The Author

Anthony Roberts

Anthony is a freelance career coach with a combined 14 years of experience in management, recruiting, and career coaching. Along with a degree in Communications, he has expertise in resume and cover letter development, professional interview skills and etiquette, as well as job search and networking assistance. His passion is helping others appropriately convey what they can offer a potential employer to make them stand out.

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