Living & Working in Great Places
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I am forty-three and new to CoolWorks and to seasonal work in general. I have never filled out a resume, and have a few questions. My work history has some gaps, and is a bit all over the place.
From nineteen to twenty, I worked various jobs, including: a summer job at an paper mill prior to my first disastrous semester in college, housekeeping/floor finishing at a hospital, manufacturing/assembly line work, shipping, fuel tech at a Ryder rental shop, utility installation/construction (fiber optics). During this time I also took two six month backpacking tours through Asia.
Most recently, I worked as an Arabic linguist in the U.S. Air Force, from August 2001 to April 2010, where I obtained a bachelor's degree in Arabic. I spent the following five years backpacking, mostly in Asia and Central America, and lived for a time in Costa Rica and Mexico. I spent August 2014 until May 2016 studying on the G.I. Bill at an accredited institute in Kathmandu, Nepal. From August 2016 until November 2016 I volunteered with a Czech NGO in some Syrian refugee camps around Thessaloniki, Greece.
I do not have a house, bills or anything tying me to one place. My goal at this point is to purchase a vehicle and travel through the U.S., picking up various seasonal jobs, and perhaps WWOOFing. I am not looking for a career, more of an experience. The sorts of jobs I seek are along the lines of housekeeping, dishwashing, groundskeeping, and perhaps working as a porter/bellhop.
I am currently trying to structure my resume. Does anyone have similar a similar background or experiences, and can perhaps offer some advice? Do you think that the various gaps and lack of a general focus will hinder my chances, and is there a way to mitigate that? Since I am applying for seasonal jobs, and not attempting to begin or further a career, should I opt for including a qualification section based on the particular job for which I am applying, rather than a career objective. If so, would vague qualifications suffice, or should I be more specific? I have included various skills and responsibilities under each job in the work experience section, and included a section for international experience, in which I listed my various trips and overseas study, filling in the gaps.
Thanks in advance for any advice!
Most of the time seasonal jobs don't really care about resumes. They just want their application.
That said...it's still nice to have one. To have one document that has gathered all the usual info makes filling those applications easier. Copy and paste will be your friend.
There are also a few out there that do like to see one. In some circumstances I have used one to email additional info to a company a few days after an application. For those that like to see one maybe think non-traditionally about it. Maybe start with your first few paragraphs and then add a list of specific contacts, with twitter-size responsibilities (that copy and paste thing for apps usually leave a very small space)
There is a growing trend in "tell us why you want to work here" first steps. Think mainly cover letter. It's nice to have a somewhat standard, almost like the first paragraphs you wrote here...but start out with specifics about the desired company
Thanks for the prompt response, Keith. I will begin working on a cover letter, and save the resume for those who require one. It is nice to have all of the information collected in one place. I will take your advice to heart. Thanks again!
Keith makes some great suggestions. When I read your post, my first thought was WOW, this guy has some amazing life experiences!! And as Keith says, most employers will want you to complete their application. Especially for the types of jobs you're applying. But even on an application, you have to account for 'the gaps' as they were.
I see your gaps as a positive when it comes to working seasonally! First off, it shows you're incredibly flexible and open and excited about new opportunities. And flexibility is one of the most important things seasonal employers look for. The positions you want to apply for are mostly entry level, don't necessarily require previous experience or a skill set. So think about how your life experiences would translate into being a great dishwasher or housekeeper or bell hop and talk emphasize that.
Being a team player is also super important because often you have to be able to jump into any position to keep the ship sailing during the high season. So think about how your background lends itself to that.
Lastly, keep in mind that most often the housing seasonal employers offer is in dorms with shared rooms, and the typical seasonal worker is in their early 20's.
Wrapping up, I think if you write a cover letter with your story, your history and life experiences, and emphasize your flexibility, your ability to get along with people of ages, your work ethic, your ability to learn new skills quickly. You get the point. And when you apply, if they ask for just an application, ask if it's okay if you send along your cover letter.
Hope at least some of that helps!
Thank you very much for the advice and encouragement. It sounds very exciting and fast-paced! Sounds like my boot camp training might come in handy in high season.
I am putting the finishing touches on both the resume and the cover letter. I seem to have run into another issue. On most applications there is a limited space for work experience, perhaps three to five listings, not quite enough for my previous experience working in housekeeping to be relevant. Should I simply list the most recent in chronological order, and rely on the cover letter story, perhaps along with a brief list of skills in the cover letter itself?
Again, thank you! This has given me a lot to go on as far as structuring my cover letter; what to include, what to accentuate, etc.
Congrats on living the life most people can only dream about!
Keith and Kathi have given you some great feedback - it's interesting - many companies won't expect you to come "qualified" to be a housekeeper or a dishwasher. The appreciate that you are willing to take a position at their "great place" and that you are flexible and ready to have an adventure!
Keep up the good work. Once you get your feet wet in submitting seasonal applications, you'll hit your stride and find the places where you can interject the "you" into the application !
Thanks! It has been an interesting journey, to be sure. I have successfully submitted my first application, following Keith and Kathy's advice, and accentuating the flexible bit. I most definitely ready for an adventure.
I want to thank you again, Keith, Kathi and Patty for your warm welcome, encouragement and excellent advice. You have aided me tremendously in my attempts at reentering the workforce.