I am job hunting now after having worked for seven years at the same company. I am now looking for new work, following a lay-off, and I'm having some trouble figuring out how to position myself in my resume and cover letters.

The problem is that I've been promoted many times, but have never given up old responsibilities as I've taken on new ones. (Although I have passed some on to directs, they remained my problem) As a result, my resume looks more technical than I'd like it to, less managerial (layoffs and firings left me with one direct when I left), and less focused.

I have considered only listing accomplishments relevant to the positions I'm seeking, but that ends up leaving out some very impressive achievements.

I'm wondering what tips and experience the other members of this community have had in this regard. Does it count against me to be a versatile manager who is capable of juggling many (often unrelated) responsibilities? Is it useful to include major accomplishments even if they fall outside of the field you're applying into?

Thanks for any tips.

wendii's picture
Admin Role Badge


If your promotions meant your job descriptions were different, then each job title gets it's own section on your resume. (You do have a Manager Tools style resume right?

In the responsibilities paragraph, it is legitimate to write 'continued with previous duties' after listing your new duties. Although, if you were actually delegating to your directs, you will now be 'responsible for performance of' rather than 'responsible for action of'. Let me give you an example: my responsibilities for my old role say: 'Delivering the recruitment service across xx customer'. When I became the team leader, I still had to ensure the delivery was done but I didn't necessarily do it myself so my responsilities are 'Managing the delivery of the recruitment service'.

As for your accomplishments, some will be relevant to the position you seek and some will not. Ensure you have included the ones which are, and then, the remaining space to the ones which are not. Part of the role of your accomplishments is to demonstrate that you an achievement-focused successful person. Those accomplishments which are not directly related to the new role fulfil that purpose. Versatility is definately a desirable attribute in a manager.

I hope that helps


Nik's picture

Thank you Wendii, you are helpful and wise as always. :)

Your example is particularly useful. I'll have to "steal" your copy.

I am still curious what you and others think of someone who has really been a jack of all trades. Is that a positive I should play up or a negative?

wendii's picture
Admin Role Badge


I'm sorry, I'm going to give you a wishy washy answer and say it depends.

In small companies, versatility is definately attractive at all levels.

In bigger companies the higher you go in management, the broader your experience needs to be. So, a department head will need to understand the technical requirements as well as staffing, budgeting, and how the company makes money.

If you want to be a technical specialist, even in big companies, you would want to play up the specific experience in that technical area.

If you can find out a little about the hiring manager, that can be useful (certainly if you find out about the role through an agency this should be possible). People like people like themselves, so a hiring manager with a broad background is more likely to like that in a candidate, and the opposite is true.

But remember: there is no such thing as the perfect candidate, and we'll take 10% more enthusiasm over 90% more skills. Don't let worrying about your background distract you from giving your best in an interview.


jhack's picture

I'll second Wendii. Enthusiasm and discussing your accomplishments and how you acheived them (using behavioral answers even for non-behavioral questions) will bowl them over.

Some companies (generally bigger ones) want deep and narrow expertise, others (typically smaller) want breadth and flexibility.

And while managers should be broader generally, their domain expertise (telecommunications, manufacturing, etc) becomes more important as they go higher.


Nik's picture

Thank you both. That pretty much confirms my own impressions. While I've been working at a mid-to-large company, I started there while it was only 100 folks, so I've never been entirely sure what the P&Gs and HPs of the world might want to see.

Yet another reason to customize every resume! That's one bonus of being laid off -- plenty of time to perfect things. ;)

HMac's picture

[quote="Nik"]I have considered only listing accomplishments relevant to the positions I'm seeking, but that ends up leaving out some very impressive achievements.[/quote]

But would those achievements still seem impressive in light of the types of managerial positions you're looking for?

It hard to do - but you have to pare down some of your "old favorites" because they no longer suit you, and the "you" you want to project to potential employers.


Nik's picture

That's a good point. I'd imagine that doesn't necessarily hold true for older positions. If I did good work as a pure IT tech, before I went into project management and general management, I think the fact that I excelled in that role is worth highlighting.

jhack's picture

What impresses most is a continuous series of acheivements, regardless.