A friend of ours, Janet, works in the crazy,
chaotic always-changing environment of a small business start-up. You know, one
of those places that's been struggling to become a "real company" for the last
three years. She's starting to think about greener pastures and wonders what's
going to happen when she begins putting together a resume to explain what she's
been doing there for the last year or so. Janet does not have a title or a job
description because the company is so small and everyone wears many hats.
We advised Janet to make a mind-map of all of
the activities she's involved with. In other words, keep a brainstorm on paper
of her contributions.
Here's what she gave us:
content manager, creative director, art
director, content editor, creative editor, editorial manager , administrative
manager, product marketing, public relations liaison, marketing, creating
advertisements, conducting competitive and market analyses, writing press
releases, caption writing, initial graphic user interface design, determining
clients' needs, conceptualizing new ways to fill voids, executing ideas by
acting as the hub for various departments.
This was great! It was quite a lengthy list to
We next advised Janet to think about writing a
functional resume rather than a chronological one, especially because she was
expecting to change career direction. She was thinking seriously of pursuing a
job at an ad agency. She liked the excitement of such an environment and the
opportunity to work with a variety of different clients. We showed her Yana
Parker's Web site
http://www.damngood.com to see what we meant by functional resumes.
While Yana didn't exactly have a resume for
someone like our friend at her site, one of the samples there gave a good
example of what we were after:
We suggested that Janet choose the words among
her mind map list that she'd like to use as "functional headings" within the
body of her resume. These would be like the words in bold Italics on Katrina's
(Assessment, Clinical Case Management, Short Term Problem Solving, etc.). Having
this long list to choose from would make the job of creating divisions within
the resume manageable.
She chose Administrative Manager, Content
Manager, Creative Director, and Public Relations Liaison.
Janet saw how she could list her specific
contributions under each area. Then for the word under Employment History she
chose the words Account Executive to summarize her overall contributions since
she was carrying the equivalent workload of someone with that title at an Ad
Agency. These words would also be better understood by the people in the
advertising agencies she'd be networking with for job opportunities.
We told her that this was perfectly acceptable
to use a title that better described her responsibilities since she worked in a
start-up. Just as long as she wasn't stretching the truth. However, before
asking for references from anyone from her present company, she should show them
her new resume and ask for their support in substantiating the cluster of
responsibilities she shouldered, if not agreeing to the appropriateness of the
If you find yourself in a similar situation to
Janet's, we suggest that you try the mindmap exercise yourself. Keep a
brainstorming list of the words that most appropriately describe your work,
paring them down to the select ones that would work as functional headings.
Choose an overall title that better describes your total responsibilities within
your current job. You'll be amazed at how this process will help you better
explain what you really do.
Here's another hint. If you'd like to stay
put where you are, use this process and resume style to negotiate a raise or a
greater stake in the organization. Chances are you, as well as your boss, has
been underrating your important contribution!