News, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Resumes, CV’s and Careers….

by Victoria Brewster, MSW

I just read a discussion topic on LinkedIn that piqued my interest to read further. It focused on a resume and how ‘The Number 1 Mistake Professionals Make’ is to be too diversified careerwise. Is there such a thing?

The article focused on how a professional was reviewing another professionals resume. The professional with the resume had done so many good things in so many different fields it was hard to know what was distinctive about her/him.

As the two had a discussion it became clear the resume was a symptom of a deeper problem of the one professional being pulled into projects and opportunities she/he did not feel made the best use of her/his talents. She/he ends up being overworked and underutilized.

Step 1: Capable people are driven to achieve.

Step 2: Other people see they are capable and give them assignments.

Step 3: Capable people gain a reputation as “go to” people. They become “good old [insert name] who is always there when you need him.” There is lots right with this, unless or until…

Step 4: We end up doing lots of projects well but are distracted from what would otherwise be our highest point of contribution (see more on this in the Harvard Business Review article The Disciplined Pursuit of Less). Then, both the company and the employee lose out. This is where the discussion can be found for those on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20121206081322-8353952-the-1-career-mistake-capable-people-make

This was my contribution to the discussion topic. ‘Not sure if I agree with overworked and underutilized, but yes many professionals are the ‘go to’ people because, well they get the job done! If a professional is feeling overworked and underutilized this involves a discussion with one’s direct supervisor or manager. A question: Underutilized meaning one is being asked to fulfill tasks that are ‘beneath’ them, or not part of the regular job description? We all do and if you work for a non-profit and in community it goes with the territory. Being part of a team is important in any job whether you work at McDonald’s or in the White House! When it comes to actual jobs, sometimes people take whatever is available because financially they have to or they leave a job because it does not match their values or they cannot get along with a colleague or boss.’

To me the discussion question is raising a good point-should we as professionals over-diversify? Should we be more selective in jobs and tasks performed?

The discussion also raises other questions like can we in today’s current job and economic market be so selective? I know too many professionals who are looking for employment or to re-enter the job market and are not having much luck.

I know others who would love to leave their current job, but financially cannot and/or they have not had much luck in even securing an interview.

So, what does and does not go on the resume or CV? This could be a great discussion topic in general and a wonderful opportunity for professionals to help other professionals.

* First posted at: http://www.socialjusticesolutions.org/2012/12/09/resumes-cvs-career-choices/