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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Rain123 on November 20, 2014, 11:53:54 AM

Title: resume assistance, new to private sector (botany/NR Mgt.)
Post by: Rain123 on November 20, 2014, 11:53:54 AM

I am currently job searching, and was hoping that the brilliant minds here on the forum could tear my resume to shreds for me.

I have three seasons of experience in my field (Botany / Natural Resource Mgt./ Soils), but just finished my Bachelors this last summer.  All of my relevant work experience has been federal and seasonal.  I am very good at writing a federal resume, but am currently applying to local government and private sector positions as I am hoping for something a bit more long term and local. 

The formatting of the attached resume will be slightly messed up, as it was exported from google docs for this.  My actual resume doesn't have this problem, and currently fits on one page.

Restructuring this down to one page from it's former eight pages of federal awesomeness has me feeling like I am seriously leaving stuff out.  Should I find a way to fit in more information on my various certifications (WFR, Occupational Leadership) and training (Plant Tax, Soil Tax, wetland delineation)? 

The position I am applying for currently would involve being a field supervisor, and is the next orderly step up from the positions I have worked.  My supervising experience is fairly limited though.  In the jobs listed on this resume, I supervise people routinely for one of my current very part time Personal Assistant gigs, and I supervised volunteers semi regularly at my most recent federal gig.  I am also the lead dinner server at a music festival that I go to yearly, and run a staff of 9 feeding 300, but I am not sure how I would fit that in or if I should.  It's a one week a year gig in food service.

Thank you so much for your help!
Title: Re: resume assistance, new to private sector (botany/NR Mgt.)
Post by: Astatine on November 20, 2014, 01:22:08 PM
I don't have any specific advice but highly recommend reading the job application advice on
Title: Re: resume assistance, new to private sector (botany/NR Mgt.)
Post by: Jacana on November 20, 2014, 01:56:00 PM
I don't see a resume attachment, is there one? Check out a website called for some help tailoring your keywords. It allows you to 'test' your resume as if it were going through an automated resume scanner. My husband used it in his search this summer with great results, and you get 5 free runs a month.

I also learned a lot this year about the new world of resumes, which is definitely contradicting everything I learned 10 years ago in college. With private sector and local govt jobs there is a strong possibility your application and resume will be scanned by an ATS. Google terms like resume advice ats, or getting past automated tracking systems, new resume rules, etc. A lot of old advice like 1 page max is no longer true in many fields including yours. If you have a lot of good experience, you may need 2 pages. What you can't do is have fancy layouts, crazy formatting, exotic fonts, columns or tables... The resume scanning software can't read it and will discard your application. You need standard web-safe fonts, all left justification, etc. Apparently even something so innocent as a horizontal line separating sections can throw it off. And no tiny little font to make it 1 page, PDF isn't necessarily best, clear format with job, title, years, all easy to find; read up on it. Also google docs format might be risky, if you don't have access to word consider making it as simple as possible or even a .txt version or something. It is insane how much has changed.

As for what to include, I would say be precise but brief with training and certification. They won't care about your irrelevant experience if you clearly have plenty of relevant stuff on there. I am in ecology/conservation field too and I think managing volunteers in your field trumps food service by far if you run out of room.

Good luck!!
Title: Re: resume assistance, new to private sector (botany/NR Mgt.)
Post by: Jacana on November 20, 2014, 02:16:13 PM
Ha, just saw the attachment. Sorry. You've had some cool jobs, you are off to a good start! Consider changing the headings to standard words (work experience, skills separate from certifications) and watch your formatting with the top heading, and consider removing the | everywhere and replacing with commas, semicolons, or parentheses where appropriate. I also don't know much about how to present things like yourself employed section, can't advise there. Also from personal experience, ATS doesn't understand summer 2014. You need months (June 2014 to September 2014) so it knows how to calculate experience.

A good starting place:
Title: Re: resume assistance, new to private sector (botany/NR Mgt.)
Post by: Rain123 on November 20, 2014, 02:53:32 PM
Astatine:  I checked out  a couple months ago, and found it quite helpful.  I should go back over there and read it again.

Jacana:  Thank you!  That is an awesome resource, and I will definitely use it.  For the position I am currently applying for, there is an occupational questionnaire that is likely the document that will get run through that system, and I will definitely run it through before I send it off.  I'll also see about reformatting with a simpler template for the resume itself.

I usually submit my resume in PDF format, regardless of which resume it is.  I know that it makes it through the federal screening process, and I assume they use similar software(?)  Do you know if ATS can handle PDFs?  I can get access to word, but it involves reformatting on a library computer before I send anything off, as my personal computer is a chromebook.

Thanks for the compliment, as well.  They were very cool jobs.  I'm a bit older then I would like to be at this point in my career (and mustache), but I have thoroughly loved the work.
Title: Re: resume assistance, new to private sector (botany/NR Mgt.)
Post by: Jacana on November 20, 2014, 03:20:12 PM
You're welcome! I know I was stunned at what a difference the new formatting made with the responses my husband was getting. He was government until a month ago. His old resume was ancient formatting in comparison, and he sent it or for 4 months without a single response. Changed the formatting and got tons of calls and leads, and then an offer.

Caveat: Jobscan is really made for the engineering/programming fields, so don't go too nuts trying to get 100%. You should aim really for like 75% or so and always use common sense and good grammar because at some point a human will also be reading it (hopefully)! Not sure how it will handle a questionnaire style format but worth a shot. Also my husband created a 'pretty ' version to hand out at the interviews and whatnot, and email directly to people. This ATS format was the one he uploaded to all the online sites. But the information was identical.

As for the PDF, it seems some sites can do PDF, some can do .doc. Best approach is to look at the site itself for tips or directions, and go .doc if you really aren't sure. I always did PDF and sometimes it couldn't read it and I would get rejections offhand even though I was fully qualified.

And the best results I ever had were applying to jobs with an actual name and email address, because someone actually read it. No big surprise, but a good tip to look out for those. Most of the jobs on boards like Texas A&M job board fall into that category, also smaller agencies like a local health department or sometimes a county job, or specific research institutes/programs.