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Rock My Resume: Justin Kugler
August 25, 2011 at 12:46 pm #139533
Why do you want your resume reviewed?
I work in the civil space program and there is a lot of uncertainty in our business. I want to be certain that I am putting my best face forward in the event that I have to look for work or I come across an opportunity that I don’t want to miss. I am also in a situation where I expect most of my current work to be transferred to a non-profit organization over the next year. I don’t know exactly what that means for my career.
What is your current situation (employed, seeking, etc.)?
I am currently employed as a support contractor for the ISS Program. My position is stable at the moment, but I have no guarantees it will stay that way. I have been looking for other opportunities.
Where are you in the process (submitted resumes, applied for jobs, etc.)?
I have interviewed at two commercial space companies.
What’s the main issue you’re encountering?
At the first company, I was told that my background was “too political” and that my resume didn’t adequately describe what I’ve done. At the second company, I was told I am at the top of their list, but the sub-contracts they expected to get have been delayed. I don’t want to rest on my laurels because the second interview went better.
Can you share 1 link to a job you’re interested in applying for?
http://www.spacex.com/careers.php (Under “Mission Manager”)
October 22, 2011 at 4:22 pm #139547
Justin, you have a ton of great experience. I’m excited to see what you come up with in the end.
There are few things I think we can do to help your resume really highlight all this great experience. I couldn’t tell from your comments whether you are applying to federal positions or whether you are solely looking at private sector organizations. If you are pursuing federal positions, then you will need to have two different types of resumes available: your federal resume and a non-federal resume.
Although the non-federal resume will not be as long as your federal resume (unless you are applying for more academically oriented positions) there are a number of similarities between the two. For you, the most important similarity is that your resume MUST make your accomplishments easily accessible to the potential employer. As it appears now, your resume is jammed full of great information, but it is unappealing to the eye and it probably doesn’t begin to touch the surface of how much you have accomplished.
Before I get into the meat of what I think you can do to make your resume effective, I have a couple pet peeves I need to share first:
- Although 10pt text is OK, it’s harder to read than 11pt, and 12pt is too big.
- NEVER use an Objective with a non-federal resume. Your objective should be obvious—getting the job. For federal resumes, the objective plays a different role: it gives information on the position at hand and some of your info. Instead, I suggest having a Summary section that is a way for you to control how the employer will see your information. However, some contracting/consulting firms don’t find a Summary section of use. In those cases, don’t use it.
- Move your education to after you professional experience. Even though you are in school, most private and public organizations are more interested in your experiences. Also, if you are in school while looking for full-time jobs, employers may immediately discount you if they think you can’t work and go to school at the same time. Seeing your accomplishments first may mitigate this reaction.
- No need to list GPA with the “/4.0” if that is the scale you are using. That is assumed in the U.S.
- Be consistent with everything. Your education section has you GPA hanging out to the right, which highlights that information, while the rest of your resume has dates hanging to the right, in a different place. Pick one way of doing things and be consistent. Inconsistencies make reading your resume more difficult.
- Use bullet point. Most people, especially in the private sector, can’t be bothered to read paragraphs.
- Delete “REFERENCES: Available upon request” Of course they are, so why waste space emphasizing that?
Now to the more important stuff:
I’m going to suggest that, if you haven’t already, you should use the USAJobs resume builder to create your resume. Although many federal employers may not like the USAJobs resume style, they are used to it and will recognize it immediately.
Modified Chronological Format
The other thing that will help your presentation is to use a “modified chronological” format. This is a hybrid version of the functional and chronological that is organized in reverse chronological order, but has subsections focused on the skills sets the employer has said they need.
Each description, then, has longer bullet points that are focused on specific skill sets determined by the job announcement. For example, a recent client of mine was applying to a position at a university that had a number of distinctive requirements. He had a number of shorter bullet points that weren’t cohesive or understandable, so I suggested something like this:
- Recruitment and Marketing ‑ Develop employer outreach strategy and marketing plan, requiring relationship and network building in all sectors and publication of the first brochure sent to over 5,000 contacts around the world. The number of employers holding on-campus recruiting events almost doubled in this timeframe and the number of employers participating in the annual Employer Site Visit program increased 50%.
- Communications – Customize and administer, in conjunction with director, the web-based career management system, which gives student and alumni 24-hour access to job and internship announcements, an event calendar, employer contacts, and career-related documents.
- Project Evaluation ‑ Create and administer electronic surveys and evaluations for students and alumni in order to organize relevant and timely workshops, seminars, and career fairs. Attendance at events increased over the past four years including twice as many employers participating in the Elliott School career fair from 35 (2001) to 74 (2005).
- Training ‑ Advise students and alumni on career plans, job search strategy, organizational research, professional development opportunities, resume writing, informational interviewing, salary negotiation, and networking techniques. Review 200-250 resumes and cover letters per year.
(When using the USAJobs resume building, you won’t be able to bold anything. So for all the bolded words above, you can use all caps. In fact, any key words you use should be in all caps, even if it is in the middle of a bullet point.)
That kind of bullet point pulls together the skill sets he used (developing, implementing, creating), what/who/how/why he did these things, and his accomplishments. And it focuses the employer’s attention on those skills sets the employ said it needed. It also gives much more context to the employer and the sense that my student’s work had a much broader impact.
You don’t want to have massive bullet points for every skill set, just those that highlight the things that mean the most to the employer.
Another way of laying this out is to have several bullet points under one sub heading like:
Strategic Planning and Policy Development
- Develop strategic plan for new one-person career development office, monitor program budget, and serve on Executive Committee for school that has grown by 80% in 3 years.
- Identify career development needs of 450 MPA, MPP, and PhD students, implement appropriate programs and services, and offer support to 3200 alumni. Approximately 95% of all alumni are employed six months after graduation.
- Establish systems to ensure seamless coordination with Student Disability Services, Counseling Services, and International Services Office to help clients with special physical, mental, emotional, and legal needs.
- Evaluate financial aid process for graduate students and collaborate with upper management to review and develop process to decrease waiting time to receive confirmation with purpose of increasing student recruitment and retention.
- Assess personnel needs of school according to mission and present reclassifications and proposals for new staff members to director and faculty.
October 24, 2011 at 1:48 pm #139545
Thanks for all the suggestions, Paul.
I am open to both federal and non-federal positions. I will be applying for the Astronaut Corps when applications open up in November, so I need to go update my USAJobs resume anyways. =)
The resume I posted is really an adaptation of what I first built in college and have added on since then. It’s really long overdue for a comprehensive rework, but it’s worked for me reasonably well up until now, so I really appreciate the help bringing it to its full potential.
I am working full-time and going to school part-time, so I definitely see your point about moving the education section.
After reading your section on organizing around skill sets and accomplishments, I think I have a much better understanding of what direction I should take this. I’ll definitely post the results of my resume overhaul!
October 31, 2011 at 9:18 pm #139543
Thanks, Justin. If you can get your updated resume posted by end of the week, you’ll be in the running for “Total Resume Makeover” or the month of October. Thanks! – Andy (GovLoop Community Manager)
November 1, 2011 at 8:09 pm #139541
Awesome! When USAJobs cooperates, I’m working on it. 🙂 I’m taking Paul’s suggestions to heart and I can already see the difference.
November 2, 2011 at 7:26 pm #139538
Here’s what I came up with using the USAJobs resume builder and Paul’s advice. I think this does a much better job highlighting my accomplishments, though I am definitely open to suggestions for improving the visual style for non-federal positions.
November 4, 2011 at 7:31 pm #139536
Guess what, Justin? I picked yours (okay, okay…I couldn’t decide, so I picked all three of you!)
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