Tom Sweeney

It's a coming of age tale….

Archive for February 13th, 2009

Resume Writing: Raw skills VS Industry experience…

Posted by sweens on February 13, 2009

When you sit down to write your resume, there should be two areas you are trying to reflect within your resume:


1)      Your industry experience

2)      Your raw skills


INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE: What I mean by ‘Industry Experience’ is that you are trying to demonstrate that you have worked within a given field (financial, medical, pharmaceutical, etc) and have gained experience from that industry which in turn makes you more qualified for a position with a new company relative to your previous industry experience.


RAW SKILLS:  What I mean by ‘Raw Skills’ is regardless of what industry you were working in, you are aiming to demonstrate the skills you developed previously.  This could be project management, people management, technical skills, etc.  Your resume is aiming to reflect that your skill set is transferable across different industries and not just specific to one.




Well first of all, this is important to think about because there are currently more people looking for employment then normal.  These people often represent larger organizations to which they have been employed by for many years.  I have also seen a lot of candidates lately from organizations that are declining in terms of both size and industry.  As such, the likelihood of finding employment within that industry is shrinking.



Let us assume that someone is laid off from General Motors or Nortel these days.  Both of those companies are cutting staff but more importantly their respective industries are hurting.  In the case of Nortel and General Motors, if someone is laid off from either company tomorrow, they will unlikely walk down the street and find employment with one of their competitors.  This is simply because these industries are not hiring like they were a year ago.




This is where marketing your raw skills rather then your industry experience comes into play.  Candidates should evaluate what their most recent industry is doing.  Is it growing, holding steady or in decline?  If it is declining (especially rapidly) then you should be aware that there are likely going to be less jobs available within that industry and you are likely going to switch industries to find employment.  This in most cases means that your previous industry work experience is un-related to your next opportunity and you should therefore aim to market your raw skills, rather then your industry experience. 


This means to talk less about the products you worked on and focus more on:

         What you were doing

         How you did it

         How big your team was

         How your brought in structure

         Did you set up processes



The aim for current resume writing should be to maximize your chance of getting the opportunity you are looking for.  Understanding where the market is going and what to present on your resume are vital to reflecting the image you need to be casting on others.  Talking about your industry experience that is totally un-related to the job you are applying for can often saturate your resume with information that the reader is not looking for, and the important information you want to show through, can be lost.

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