When the Old is New Again

As a career coach over the years I have helped numerous clients re-build their resumes. One of the biggest challenges is getting them to stop writing their resume as if it’s a job description (frankly, boring to read), and more like a story of their accomplishments, skills and attributes, experiences and education. I point out, however, that they’re not writing the great American novel, and although they may have accomplished many things over their careers, not to include everything in the “kitchen sink.”

The reference to the “kitchen sink” is of course not to include everything they’ve done in their jobs, but essentially the key parts of the jobs for which they were most accountable. We know that there are many parts of a job, including those not included in our job description that we take on because otherwise our work wouldn’t get done. We might refer to these as the lesser responsibilities of the job.

Our workplace has evolved over the years

If we stretch this analogy a bit further, think about how our workplace has evolved over the past several years where we may not include washing out our own coffee cup in our job description, but what about all the other things we do that once were parts of other workers’ jobs? How many of us have to troubleshoot our own computer glitches because we work remotely, or we work in a company with limited IT support? How many of us enter a new job and we’re left to our own devices to figure out who’s the point person when we have a question about a new procedure, system or communication within the company?

Where many professionals in the past had staff to carry out or assist in many of these functions, our work environment has changed due to company restructurings, downsizing, and providing more remote working arrangements for workers. Everyone, regardless of their level in a company, needs to become more creative, flexible and think outside the proverbial box in order to do their jobs. In many ways, our current work environment is a throwback to earlier days when jobs were not as specialized, and workers took on a broader range of responsibilities.

In short, to stay relevant in today’s job environment one of your biggest skills will be the adaptability to all things new, and the combination of persistence and patience to pull them off will be your biggest attribute. So what do you think? And don’t forget to wash out that coffee cup!

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