Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Drop old jobs from resume to avoid dating yourself

By Cindy Atoji Keene

As a longtime college housing director, Maureen Wark said, “How do you move 1,300 students in two days into three dorms? It’s not easy, but I got really good at it, and loved the job.’’ But in July 2008, after 12 years working at a large Boston-area university, Wark’s supervisor called her in to her office and told her it was time to move on for her own professional growth.

Wark, who agreed she would leave in June 2009, would have nearly a year to look for a new job. But the timing couldn’t have been worse as the economy plunged into a deep recession.
More than 100 applications later, Wark is still looking for a full-time position while teaching part time at a community college and doing consulting work in higher education administration.
When Wark, 48, of Salem, met with Boston career coach Elizabeth Freedman, she wanted advice on her job search and resume. Although she had a career of more than 20 years in higher education, she felt she was losing touch with the industry.
“When I’m sitting in my pajamas on a Tuesday, it’s hard to reach out and feel like I’m still part of that world,’’ she said.
Freedman’s first piece of advice: create a plan for managing contacts. Freedman suggested taking an e-mail management tool such as Microsoft Outlook, creating an address book of possible job leads, and importing the names into an Excel spreadsheet. Then, she said, Wark should use the spreadsheet to track how and when she followed up with a contact to make sure she followed up every six weeks.
Next, Freedman recommended editing down a three-page resume by removing college graduation dates and deleting jobs she held more than 15 years ago.
“By putting absolutely everything on your resume, you’re running the risk of appearing overqualified,’’ she said. “I think you’re aging yourself on paper.’’

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