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resume advice for early-retired / semi-retired
Old 03-06-2017, 08:06 AM   #1
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resume advice for early-retired / semi-retired

I have pretty much given the idea that I will be able to find a job in my field at this point in my career. But I want to work because I get stir-crazy at home and because I want to make enough money to cover the cost of medical insurance given the uncertain future of the ACA.

Even for office clerical jobs they want a resume, but I am not sure what to put on my resume.

Help!
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Old 03-06-2017, 08:25 AM   #2
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Do you mean what to show for your early retired period? How about, "retired early from full time employment to pursue personal interests." In the interview you can explain it.

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Old 03-06-2017, 08:32 AM   #3
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Do you mean what to show for your early retired period? How about, "retired early from full time employment to pursue personal interests." In the interview you can explain it.

-BB
.
.

I have a stripped down resume
starting with:
Code:
Seeking full time or part time office assistant / administrative assistant / clerical position.

Summary
Excellent verbal and written communications skills.
Self-starter with strong problem-solving abilities.
Ability to multi-task.
Very quick learner.
Detail-oriented.
Highly organized.
Professional demeanor.
Works well individually and in teams.
Strong work ethic.

Technical Skills
Computer fluency with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook).
Advanced-beginner knowlege of Microsoft Access and SQL.
Copying, faxing, scanning, touch typing.

But I am not sure what to do about work history section.

.
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Old 03-06-2017, 08:45 AM   #4
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+1

Or sabbatical, family time-out, entrepreneur, investment manager. With a bit of context. Independent consultant can work too. Depends on what exactly you did, how long you were out, and what you are aiming for. Even something simple like: "mid-career break" can work.

A few lines like that actually can pique interest, depending on age, skill set and where you apply.

Avoid the "exploring life" or similar lines, that's hand waving.

I'm circling around the VC / startup area for example, so put in a line about informal coaching for startups I do sometimes and my occasional consulting work. This was mostly talking with friends over beer about their startups and a few loose assignments, the point that I kept my interests up is what I'm trying to convey, as well as my self-starter personality that hasn't lost completely touch with reality.

Started meddling with deep learning recently, so I'm putting that in my interests. As they say, mileage varies but you are no different than a mother who took a few years off to care for a starting family, or a surgeon who decided to build orphanages in Africa for a few years.
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Old 03-06-2017, 09:02 AM   #5
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Avoid the "exploring life" or similar lines, that's hand waving.
Yup, too hand-wavey and it looks like you are trying to cover time in prison or re-hab.

If you did something during that time then I would put it down. Years ago I hired a software engineer who had taken time off to ski and worked part-time bartending and it was listed as such on his resumé.
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Old 03-06-2017, 09:08 AM   #6
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My last job was on 1099 and was from April-July 2016.
I have been "semi-retired" for the past 3 years as I have been working contract jobs with periods of non-work.

Now, I am trying to transition to lower-pay office job.
And I want to tailor my resume to let me make this transition.
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Old 03-06-2017, 09:35 AM   #7
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askamanager.org is one of my favorite blogs. I think you could get some good advice there, either by sending the question in to Alison (the blogger), or by posting in the Friday open thread to ask the community for advice. The tone of the conversation there is similar to what I find here.

As someone who's hired many people, here's what I'd recommend for your situation:

Summary - get rid of what you have there. It's just a list of buzzwords. You can't really analyze those qualities in yourself, and you are expected to have them all anyway. Replace it with something like "An experienced professional making a transition to office management and executive assistant roles. Skilled at managing executive schedules, handling phone systems, organizing meetings and events."

Technical Skills - this part is ok, though I might get rid of the word "computer" in the first bullet. Can you add something here that demonstrates some of the qualities you listed above? Do you have MS Project experience? Skills at organizing and managing large events, conferences, meetings?

Recent Work Experience - list the last 10 years worth of jobs. No more. Don't try to fill in any gaps. Just put the actual month/year when you started and ended each job. If something was a temp/contract job, put that info as "(3 month contract)". Under each job, list accomplishments that show you have the qualities in your current Summary section. Here's where you demonstrate that you are detail oriented by listing some achievement that required great attention to detail, or that you can multi-task by listing the fact that you simultaneously coordinated 3 different projects, etc.

Write a separate cover letter explaining why you would be great at the job you're currently applying to. This is where you show that you have good communication skills.

If you've only been unemployed since last July and your last job was a contract role, you don't have to explain that gap, it's just not that long, and it's quite normal for hiring managers to see gaps of several months between contracts. If you really want to, you could always say in the cover letter that you're looking for your next role after working a few contracts and enjoying some time off.
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Old 03-06-2017, 09:49 AM   #8
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Some tips - your last job was 4/16 - 7/16... so just put "2016".

Put any history in years, vs. the MM/YY. This will have a visual effect of closing the gaps. In an interview, avoid saying you were retired. You can also fudge any gaps with something like you were helping out a family member and leave it at that. No one should pry too far there.

Keep the resume end-to-end on one page. It's not a laundry list, it's a highlight reel. Keep details light and custom to each posting to tailor accomplishments mostly to the new position.

Your summary intro is nice but VERY generic, and reads like a minimum requirements list for any position. You want a recruiter to pull it out of the list and go "oh here's one!"

Personal preference? I would remove communication skills - to a hiring manager they are either obvious from the resume or not. I would never ask an interview question about your communication style or skills because I've already figured that out within the first 30 seconds.

What special skills do you have that would adapt and be a bonus to a more general role?
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Old 03-06-2017, 09:52 AM   #9
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Thank you for the suggestion about askamanager.org

If I go back 10 years worth of jobs, I end up with jobs in my former line of work (a specific type of programming language). Should I still put them?

I have a section called Project Highlights which highlights Excel-related work that I have done in the past 3 years. Is this a good idea?
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Old 03-06-2017, 09:57 AM   #10
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In an interview, avoid saying you were retired.
I am not retired technically.

But they are going to be awfully curious about why I am not able to find another job in my field and why I am seeking an office clerical job. I don't want to get into the whole dog-and-pony show about that.

My basic approach good or bad is to say that I am semi-retired working on contract jobs
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Old 03-06-2017, 12:08 PM   #11
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Some tips - your last job was 4/16 - 7/16... so just put "2016".

Put any history in years, vs. the MM/YY. This will have a visual effect of closing the gaps.
I respectfully disagree with you on this. A resume with years only makes you look like you have something to hide and leaves a terrible first impression on me and other managers I've worked with. When I see resumes like this, they don't even get a second look if I have enough other qualified applicants. If I absolutely have to interview someone who fudges data like this, I dig deeply into how many months was each position and why did they leave.

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In an interview, avoid saying you were retired. You can also fudge any gaps with something like you were helping out a family member and leave it at that. No one should pry too far there.
This I agree with.
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Old 03-06-2017, 12:21 PM   #12
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Thank you for the suggestion about askamanager.org

If I go back 10 years worth of jobs, I end up with jobs in my former line of work (a specific type of programming language). Should I still put them?

I have a section called Project Highlights which highlights Excel-related work that I have done in the past 3 years. Is this a good idea?
I would probably include the most recent programming job, just because it shows what you're transitioning from; that you are capable of holding down a full time regular job even if that's not what you want now; and that understanding some of the more complex Office functions is not going to be beyond you. I like to get as much of a feel for the whole candidate as I can from the resume, so it would be meaningful to me to see what you did in the past. Other people might disagree with me on that, but there's really no way for you to know whether the person reading your resume would prefer more or less, so I'd err on the side of more and figure that people know how to start skimming when they get to the less relevant stuff. I would definitely keep it to 2 pages though. Some will say 1 page, but most resumes for people with more than a couple professional jobs are longer, and a single page tends to make you look more junior than you are.

If you did the Excel related work as part of one or more jobs/contracts, I would list them as achievements under the specific job headings rather than pulling them out to a separate section, e.g. "developed an Excel sheet that calculated sales commissions automatically, saving the company over $5000 per year and allowing commissions to be paid on time each month." If you did them as personal projects, then you can put them in a separate section.
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Old 03-06-2017, 12:54 PM   #13
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Doesn't answer your specific question but you might check out the latest Money magazine. They have an article about how to do your resume in modern times which is WAY different than my old dark ages resume.
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Old 03-06-2017, 05:46 PM   #14
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Forget about using retired or semi-retired. Simply put, I am looking for contract work. Nothing more.

Put a keyword section at the end. List every language and software package.

Maintain a CV with all of your experience, and modify/trim as necessary. Keep your CV up to date.

Personally, I don't want to have a resume that attracts attention because I've shortened it. I want everyone to understand I can do work, and have done that successfully with many types of companies, over a long period of time.
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Old 03-10-2017, 08:39 AM   #15
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Just wanted to update everyone.

Most importantly, I want to thank everyone for their advice.
There's a wealth of great information from folks here.

I took cathy63's advice and removed the buzzwords in the summary.
Going forward I have a good resume to use.

I will be starting a contract job next week working with Access and Excel.
The recruiting company had me take an online Access assessment test.
That's what got my foot in the door.
Apparently I did pretty well - above 80% - which is good since I haven't used Access that much in the past. Time to go to the bookstore and buy an Access book to refresh my memory.
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Old 03-10-2017, 12:02 PM   #16
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Congratulations! I'm glad you found my suggestion helpful.
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disposable employees
Old 03-15-2017, 03:22 PM   #17
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disposable employees

I showed up at work today since yesterday was the big snowstorm.

Even with the office staff, it is at least 50-75% temp employees. It is a revolving door. I don't recall it being like that when I graduated college. Rather disheartening.

I have a student desk stuck in the same room 10' x 10' as the plant manager - my boss - essentially the guy who runs the operations. It does not give you the feeling of "permanence". The previous person was there about 1 month. The previous person was there 5 months.

The staffing agency sent him a text at 12 am this morning telling him I was showing up at 8 am. He didn't show up until 8:30 am because that is his normal starting time. I am not sure whether they are going to pay me for the 30 minutes that I was doing nothing.
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Old 03-16-2017, 05:29 AM   #18
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Well, remember the power of being able to walk away you have now. Good luck adjusting!
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Old 03-17-2017, 06:11 PM   #19
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Well, remember the power of being able to walk away you have now. Good luck adjusting!

Yes. And I will be walking away.

I was wrong. The room is 9' x 9' with the desk I was using squished into the corner. I was lucky I had a desk. Another temporary employee who has been there three weeks has no desk. They plan on dividing an office to give her an office. They have no office space for people they are planning to hire.

The things you learn and hear when sitting 3 feet from the plant manager.
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Old 03-17-2017, 07:41 PM   #20
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Yes. And I will be walking away.

I was wrong. The room is 9' x 9' with the desk I was using squished into the corner. I was lucky I had a desk. Another temporary employee who has been there three weeks has no desk. They plan on dividing an office to give her an office. They have no office space for people they are planning to hire.

The things you learn and hear when sitting 3 feet from the plant manager.
This is one of my fears of leaving my current role with the belief that I will take a "lesser" position just to smooth out the finances. Face it, by the end of your/my career, you're likely being treated pretty good even if you describe your work life as hell. It's all relative. A 9x9 space shared with another person doesn't seem too appealing at all. I'd rather drive a delivery van.

My suggestion would be to look for opportunities that you can do from home or for a professional office environment.

As for the resume, there was a lot of good advice in this thread, but I would recommend getting a simple professional document together and call it good. What's going to get you a job is either a personal contact (wherein the resume will be perfunctory but not critical) or the cover letter which will highlight your skills in a way that relates very specifically to the job you're seeking. Sending our resumes and believing that you'll be picked from the pack because of the resume is not, in my opinion, realistic.

I've hired a number of people at a professional level and I've never picked a professional out of a pile. They find a way to contact me through a network. The only time I've focused on a resume or the paperwork in general is when I've hired new blood out of college.
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