Updated this article February 13, 2008
Unfortunately, in one job I had I was involved on the downside of government downsizing, but I feel that even during a seemingly bad experience, you can always learn something positive. The employer I was working for sent me on career counselling as part of the "downsizing package". One of the many things I remember, and have put to good use, was a workshop on resume writing. I will share some of what I recall from this workshop.
In resume writing they suggested that any experience over 10 years was too old to put on your resume. They discouraged listing duties, but rather suggested setting out your skills and strengths in point form right up front so the potential employer can see if you have the skills for the job. They also suggested using action words when describing what you do, for example utilizing, preparing and maintaining. And rather than putting 14 years experience or 22 years experience, they suggested you use "Almost 15 years of progressive achievement" or "Over 20 years of progressive achievement".
I have used this format for writing my own and many other resumes and have always had comments from potential employers on how impressive it was and how easy to read. Here is an example, but please remember these are only suggestions:
R E S U M E
[Your Co-ordinates (Name, Address etc.)]
[What is your objective? What kind of position are you looking for and what do you have to offer? Customize this paragraph to the job you are applying for. For example I was applying for a job in the legal environment so wanted to highlight that].
Administrative support utilizing strengths in typing, speed, accuracy, software programs and organization to provide high quality services to professional staff in a legal environment.
[Summarize your work experience]
Over twenty years of progressive achievement as a secretary in the legal, medical and high-tech fields. Recent experience as a legal assistant in a major law firm. Previous experience as a legal assistant to a Corporate lawyer. Highly skilled typist with excellent knowledge of various computer software programs.
SKILLS AND STRENGTHS:
[Set out your computer skills, but also your strengths such as:]
· Fast, accurate typist · Ability to work with minimal supervision
· Interpersonal skills and a team worker · Organization skills
· Hard worker · Reliable
[Highlight some of your accomplishments]
· Maintained excellent attendance record
· [Any courses you have been on]
RECENT WORK EXPERIENCE:
Name of Employer and Job Title September 2004 - Present
Name of Employer and Job Title November, 1996 – September 2004
PREVIOUS WORK EXPERIENCE:
[If you feel you need to put some of your older experience (anything over 10 years), they suggested you write a paragraph summarizing what you have done. If they want to know more, they can ask you at the interview.]
For example: Secretarial experience in offices including [names of different companies you worked for].
LANGUAGE: [Languages spoken]
REFERENCES AVAILABLE ON REQUEST
For more information on resumes please click here. (accessed August 3, 2007)