A resume . . .
Did you know that a resume is considered a form of marketing yourself?
That was a repeated theme throughout the Resume Workshop I attended yesterday. It is, essentially a Personal Marketing Tool. It’s purpose? To get you to the interview.
Tailoring, experience, achievements (preferably quantifiable), and transferable skills. All elements and components necessary to the resume. Do you know what else? LinkedIn. The facilitator may or may not have indicated that LinkedIn is where references could (possibly?) be verified. Apparently, in addition to figuring out how to sell myself as a Mental Health Peer Support Specialist by building a resume that uses my past experience in such a way as to make it relevant, despite it not really having much in common with my objective, I also need to update and polish my LinkedIn.
There are also two different forms of resumes: Chronological and Functional. I guess some do a hybrid. Mine needs to be functional since a) I haven’t been employed for seven years and b) I’m transitioning to an entirely new line of work. Elements of a resume include:
- Contact information: Phone, email, LinkedIn – NOT physical address
- Summary of Skills: 3 – 5 key skills and/or accomplishments.
- Experience Section: Categorize using the potential employer’s job description to use key words when identifying additional skills and accomplishments.
- Licenses and certifications
And guess what? Keep it down to one page, if possible. Two pages is the maximum, for most industries and employers. However, it all has to be done with specific formatting: 10-12 point, clean font (nothing fancy), with wide enough spacing to keep enough blank, white space on the page for readability and them to write notes on.
I’m going to be honest. I feel intimidated and out of my depth when it comes to doing this resume. I used to have no problem creating a resume. But, that was with jobs in alignment with what I already had experience in. Highlighting skills was fairly simple and straightforward. Now, I have to figure out how to attach an accomplishment to the relevant skills. I don’t see any relevant accomplishments that I have had recently, or within the past seven years. I honestly don’t see accomplishments in work I’ve done in the past. Of course, a lot of that is memory related; meaning I don’t remember what I’ve actually done because of my mental health symptoms of dissociation. I did the things, but don’t remember what a lot of those things were. I just know I used the skills.
Also. References. Uhmmm . . . I don’t have them. I am not in contact with ANYONE I previously worked for or with. I have no clue who I can have vouch for my reliability, capability, or desirability as an employee. The closest person who could possibly do those things for me would be the Teaching Elder (pastor) of my faith community. I’ve been volunteering the past two or three years to create the chart books for the worship team, put together the slide presentation for the lyrics and order of service, and creating lyric sheets for external events. Except, we’re supposed to avoid mentioning religious affiliation.
I feel a tension migraine coming on. Oh, it’s a minor panic attack at the thought of all these things.
Realistically, I know I’m capable of doing these things. I know I would be good at the work. I know I have the experience and skills necessary to the work. However, virtually none of those skills and accomplishments are in a professional setting and are 98% related to my personal circumstances. The most relevant reference is my therapist and I’m pretty sure that is a violation of the client/therapist boundary. I might be able to call on my child’s DDS Case Manager or her school’s Special Needs teachers.
I’ll figure it out. I’ve already reached out to my Employment Specialist and mentioned the need to obtain some job descriptions. I’m going to troubleshoot this whole resume/LinkedIn thing with her.
This whole job readiness thing is a full-time job in itself! And it’s exhausting. Two hours in the resume workshop, a two hour break (with 45 minutes of that in transit), then a two and a half hour Power Point class, followed by the afternoon rush hour on public transit. All I could do when I got home was lay down and pass out.
Today is a Job Search Workshop, followed by a mental health Socialization Group. The group is interesting. I don’t really feel like I fit in. There’s very little common ground and a disparity between where I’m at in my recovery process and where many of the others seem to be. I guess I can count it as peer experience and consider it another component on my job readiness journey.