If you have ever served on a search committee, you will recall that a 20-page vita was a formidable reading task, especially if the CV did not have enough white space between segments. As a job-seeker you want to encapsulate your life to draw every reader’s interest. So how do you make your resumé visually attractive and still have it accomplish its primary purpose, to grab the attention of those who will hire you?
Glean over your resumé like a voracious hawk. Are you an educator who is also a grant-writer? Have you provided service-learning or community involvement? Have you designed online courses and/or didactic materials? Are you licensed in your field or even in a hobby? Have you translated documents as a professional courtesy? Each past activity or focus can give you a separate category for job hunting.
In other words, see beyond your current or past job titles and look for new job descriptors. You can then provide job histories under these newly-found categories for yourself. You will no longer have a resumé that reads: Adjunct…Lecturer ….Assistant Professor… Rather, you will have these traditional job descriptors plus: Grant Writer… Community Engagement… Study Abroad Coordinator…Lower Division Spanish Coordinator….Language Lab Director….Proofreader…Oral Historian.
Summarize your accomplishments within each category to highlight your job history, your skills AND your accomplishments under each category. For example: Grant Writer (2010-2015) - $100k received. Provide a one-sentence or phrase to describe this category. This is not “beefing” your resumé. You are simplifying and highlighting vital information about you as a worker for your readers.
By taking stock of your inventory of skills, you will give yourself added opportunities to appeal to employers. Your resume has now become a transformative agent. The process of drawing out your acquired skills gives a wealth of information in an attractive, succinct, coherent fashion. Make sure to have others read and critique your drafts and have various versions available to be read as traditional in-print, in an app-format for smart phones and as pdf files for downloads.
Maria Eugenia Trillo, Ph.D., has taught at universities in New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and Canada for more than 30 years.
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