Sam: I need help handling an unusual dilemma. I returned to college to
finish a HR degree in an attempt to position myself for a career
change. In the interim, I accepted a stepping stone position as an HR
Assistant. I have been hired, completed paperwork, and had an informal
orientation, but I still have to attend a formal orientation before I
officially start. The HR Manager left the company the day before my
orientation was scheduled. Since then, I have been scheduled and
rescheduled to complete this orientation. I feel I should send out
résumés again as I am yet to be impressed with my new employer. Can I
put this company on my résumé and list the job duties I was hired to
perform? I have essentially done all of these job functions during my
career, but I didn't hold the HR title. I'm considering not even
starting this job with all the chaos I have witnessed so far. - Fran

Fran: It sounds like you are the victim in this situation. It is
possible the company has every intention to follow through on their
commitment, but is possibly struggling to regroup after the HR
Manager's sudden departure. They may also feel bringing on an
assistant, when they have no one for you to assist, might be putting
the cart before the horse. I wouldn't count them out just yet; who
knows, you could receive a rapid promotion to the manager position. I
think it would be prudent to start sending out résumés again, as in the
event your new position doesn't come to fruition you won't have wasted
valuable time. I would absolutely not list this position on your résumé
before you have officially started; doing so would be seen as
misleading. You should instead orient your résumé so it highlights your
HR experiences first, followed by your professional experience section,
minimizing your non-HR titles.

Sam: I desperately need some guidance. My husband worked for a
telecommunications company for 25+ years. Since his company closed, he
has been working part-time in a college communications department. He
would like to stay in his field, but that seems to be difficult since
that industry took such a hit. Money is very negotiable; he just wants
to work! Is there anything we can do to make him more appealing on
his résumé? I did not know where else to go, thank you for any advice
you can give. - Cindy

Cindy: I like how your husband's résumé begins with a summary section,
but I'd like to see less focus on the amount of experience he has and
more attention paid to what value he can offer an employer. It could be
by starting with 27 years' experience… he is immediately being seen
as overqualified and too expensive. Instead, translate what value his
experience can offer an employer. For example, he would have a proven
record working with all types and sizes of clients, has had to remain
flexible to industry changes, and has clearly performed well or he
wouldn't have been employed with the same company for 20 years.
Additionally, he has 71 words describing 20 years of experience! How
could that possibly summarize all the value he provided in that 20
years? Also, where are his accomplishments? I only see bullet points
that reiterate his job description; there is nothing about when/where
he went above and beyond. If he held the same title during his position
listed as 1979-1999 then you can't really hide that, but if he was
promoted let's say in the 1980's, then I'd just list the title(s) he
has held since then. This would prevent unnecessarily aging his
candidacy; with the current résumé the dates in the 1970's immediately
age him. Moreover as there is no date on his degree, some will assume
this was received even further back than the beginning of what is shown
on his résumé, so be sure it has been omitted for a reason.

Sam: I'm not exactly sure what I want to do in my career and I'm having
a difficult time figuring out what to include on my résumé. I have a
background in sales, customer service, and management, but I'm now open
to many opportunities. How do I handle this on my résumé? - Jo

Jo: A common mistake many job seekers make is trying to create a
one-size-fits-all résumé. While in today's highly competitive market
job seekers have to keep their options open, it is imperative to
present a targeted résumé to each hiring manager. This doesn't mean you
have to write a completely different résumé for each job you apply to,
but it does mean you need to tailor your résumé to be sure it presents
your most related skills for each type of opportunity you are pursuing.
Trying to develop a résumé that suits every opportunity when you have
diverse goals is a very ineffective strategy. Doing so will only
present diluted content to any given hiring manager, and when competing
with other skilled candidates, will likely not secure interviews.
Instead, assess your goals, identify your related skills, and tailor
your résumé to suit the requirements of each type of position. Only
then will your résumé produce the results you want.

Sam: During my career I have made it a point to volunteer for several
advocacy groups in order to give back to my community. Should this
information be included on my résumé? - Ken

Ken: If your volunteer work supports or enhances your candidacy then by
all means include it on your résumé. If not however, then in order to
maintain the professional tone and focus of the document, this
information should be strategically omitted. If you have a career
within the nonprofit arena, then your commitment to community activism
would reinforce your passion for what you do, thereby enhancing your
candidacy. The key is to evaluate each opportunity and decide whether
your volunteer work enhances your professional candidacy.

Dear Sam: I am applying for jobs in cities other than Oklahoma City. What
is the best way to approach the address line? In the cities I would
like to relocate to, I have friends who are willing to lend their
address to me. Should I use the local address, or include both? In my
cover letter should I state why I am looking to relocate? What sort of
information should include? I do not necessarily need them to foot the
relocation expense, is this something I should include? Thanks! - RC

RC: First let me say that you should never mislead a hiring manager.
Doing so will only lead to your candidacy being devalued, and the
hiring manager feeling like they have been misled. In order to avoid
either of these things occurring, I always tell clients to use both a
local and upcoming address when at all possible. This prevents you
from looking like a long distance recruit and also avoids a
misconception that you may be sending résumés to every city in the
country saying you are relocating to each! I often place the address to
the end of the résumé when this is the case, just to make sure focus is
paid to your candidacy instead of your geographic location. If you are
not seeking relocation expenses then you should definitely mention this
in your cover letter. The problem most long distance recruits find is
that their job searches are difficult because hiring managers fear they
are going to expensive and timely to recruit. If you can avoid any of
these thoughts by stating you are going to be in the city during a
certain time period, have a firm relocation date, and/or are not
seeking any funds for the move, this will improve your candidacy and
competitiveness against local candidates.