Of Career Direction and Work History In The Resume

birthday cake

Do not call Fairfax County FD

As we press on to a discussion of the  “work history” section of the resume, I prevail on your mind to consider that there is what I would like to call an “inner resume” running below the paper resume.

My theory is that we carry our “inner resume”, the story we have built over time about working, inside us. Comments in its margins, our thoughts about each entry including its history, form a kind of continuity text. It is therefore important that the “inner resume” is totally reconciled with the paper resume because interviewers are keen to pick up on any dissonance between them. Doubt about integrity arises. That, I say, is why many articles advise seekers to over learn the content of the resume–especially if you had it written for you.

I do not know about you, but for me resumes were simple until I grew up. Things were straightforward until I  left formal schooling and began paddling about in the employment pool back in the 70’s.  I made many bad choices that made for a “checkered”, not-so-good employment history. Warn your children.

The headwaters of the writing stream that I am navigating like a champion today came ready to bubble up when I arrived on earth. That life making river; the oldest and strongest, rushed over the banks of my career history quite often to save my sanity. Thank heaven.

four directions compass rose


You see, I  had one main passion and did other things to support it, but from a corporate perspective, I seemed to wander aimlessly from job to job. My “employment history” section looked more like a patchwork quilt or a string of freshwater pearls. My resume challenge, I thought, was to make a not-so-good history look like it had always been a single, navigable stream  while keeping my real passion hidden.

The truth was that the signals I picked up from school and general society caused me to be ashamed of my talent/gift package and to want to be “like the high-powered corporate women” I saw put up as role models. They were “normal” and I was “abnormal”.

Just a few days ago, I celebrated my birthday– “old enough to know better”–half a century-plus. Having lived long enough and to have held several jobs I am free of head games and fairy tales about working.  I have made a custom resume for each of the stronger work history streams, dismissed the weak ones and only mention the odious ones in passing during an interview– if asked.


One thought on “Of Career Direction and Work History In The Resume

  1. Resumes are a tricky business, particularly in these times when there are too many people applying for too few jobs. Computers are picking out “key words” and rejecting you before a human even gets to read your resume. Age discrimination. Discrimination against the unemployed. Some states still allow employers to check your credit history and your health history, using the information to eliminate a candidate without regard to the qualifications for the job. It ain’t easy…….

    Kay Lorraine
    Nonprofit Executive
    Honolulu, Hawaii


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