Monday, March 19, 2007

Career Change at 55

My resume hasn't been updated for over 10 years. I've been in the newspaper business for about 15 years now and I just hate it. There's no room for advancement. The depression is unbelievable.

I will be almost 55 yrs old and I do not know how to change my resume. I have a degree in illustration and rendering. But I have not been able to use my talent. I would love to work at the field museum. But I don't know were to start. I'm sorry if I feel confused and frustrated. I just don't know were to start. I hate having to be stuck in a job just to say I have one. Can you help me?
-- Joan

by Catherine Sutton, Professional Resume Writer

Dear Joan,
No one should have to stay in a job they hate. There really are possibilities out there that would satisfy you and make you feel glad to get up in the morning. I suggest contacting a good career coach first of all.

There are probably some free resources at your local One Stop Center, your library, and, of course, online. You could ask people you know to recommend a coach or call the career coach on Susan Ireland’s team, Roberta Rosen at 415-885-4804. (Roberta works with clients by phone if they don’t live in her area, which is San Francisco.)

Another step to take you in the right direction would be to call the field museum (or anywhere else that you think you might like to work) and ask if you can come in and talk to someone to find out what positions people hold there and what skills and abilities those positions require. This is called an “informational interview.” This type of interview is just what it says – for gathering information – and you initiate the meeting. You don’t need a resume for this. In fact it’s better if you simply focus on gathering information at this stage.

The next step is to craft a resume that will catch the attention of your chosen target. By now you are in a much better position because you have an idea how your talents and abilities would fit that workplace.

One of the main mistakes people make is to think that a resume is all about their past. Oh no! A resume is about your future. A good resume shows how you could contribute to the position you have in mind. Isn’t it great to know you don’t have to repeat those tasks you hate to doing?!

When writing your resume, put yourself in your prospective new employer’s shoes (you could simply imagine your ideal new situation) and think of your relevant projects and accomplishments that you’re proud of. Those accomplishments don’t have to be at work and they don’t have to be recent.

Write a short description (two or three lines max) for each accomplishment you think of and make sure you say where you did it. Was it for the newspaper? Say so. Was it a drawing you did at home that caught the subject particularly well? Include details like numbers or dollar figures if you can, or focus on how you overcame challenges.

It’s much better to describe specific, accountable accomplishments of your own rather than copying boring and general statements that you see on other people’s resumes. And I suggest you start from scratch rather than trying to update your old resume. You’ll like the result much better.

Check out the Damn Good Resume website where you’ll get some great hot tips that really work. And you’ll get more excellent advice.

Good luck! I’m excited for you!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I work at the Field Museum. For a job in 2D at TFM your portfolio matters more than your resume.