How do I write a resume when my skill set is very diverse?

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Stella at the University of Houston asked: 

How do I write a resume when my skill set is very diverse?  I have 12 years as a researcher, 1 year as a literacy tutor, 6 years as a volunteer tax counselor, 2 years as a sailing chairperson/manager, etc.  I would like to get involved working in nonprofit management. 

Hi Stella – the very last part of your question is the most important part: “I would like to get involved working in nonprofit management.

When crafting a resume, you have to keep your target audience in mind.   You have to use your resume to make you make sense to them.  You need to speak their language, and use your resume to put your skills and experience into their context. Your resume is a marketing document – it should present you in terms relevant to the audience you wish to reach.

So, the first questions you have to ask is: What do people who work in non-profit management actually do?  What skills do they need? What types of experience, background and expertise to they have?

When you have answered these questions, you can look at your own set of skills and experience and assess how what you offer and are seeking matches up with what they are offering and seeking.

My guess is you will probably want to use a functional resume format rather than a chronological format.

Functional resumes place emphasis on your relevant skills and accomplishments apart from the positions you were holding when you did the work.

Chronological resumes place emphasis on what you can do in the context of what you have done in the past.  They typically list your experience in reverse chronological format, position by position.  Chronological is the most typical resume format.

To see what skills you need to highlight, check out job postings that you think match your skills and experience.  You can find this kind of information in the Non-Profit Resources section of our Resource Links.

You might also like to download my Resume Guide.

Be sure to talk to a career adviser at your university.

And, consider conducting an informational interview or two with people already working in non-profit management doing the kinds of thinks you think you want to do.  This is a great way to connect with like-minded professionals and get some first-hand information about what the career path is really like.

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2 responses to “How do I write a resume when my skill set is very diverse?”

  1. […] How do I write a resume when my skill set is very diverse? […]