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Sample Resume: Traditional Resume for a Very Untraditional Career Path

By Susan Ireland

Jared Burke (not his real name) is a marketing professional in the construction industry. From his resume, you would think it was his life-long goal to do this work.

But Jared's career path wasn't a straight line – it's had some remarkable zigs and zags along the way. He just didn't write about those zig-zags when he put together his resume. Sample Resume for "Untraditional" Job Seeker (a new window or tab will open for all sample resume links).

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About this sample resume:

Jared grew up around hammers and nails. His dad was a craftsman who taught woodworking at the local community college. From an early age, Jared understood the basics of construction. When he was 16, he and his dad built a small summer house in Montana. The family assumed Jared would follow in his father's footsteps in some line of the woodworking craft.

In college, Jared gravitated toward psychology, resulting in a Bachelor's degree in social work. Then life took an unexpected turn: Jared joined a meditation organization and moved to India to follow his spiritual calling. His spiritual practice was austere and completely unrelated to the business world.

Seven years later, he returned to the United States and found work, first as an office assistant in a small local business and then as a training specialist at Yarrow &White Construction. And that's where the professional experience on his resume starts.

That's right, there's no mention of his 7 years in India or his first job when he returned to the U.S.

In 2001, Jared got his MBA in Marketing while working as a training specialist. Then, he took a step up in his new career and became Marketing Team Leader at another construction company. Four years later he got hired by a larger construction firm as Marketing Communications Director.

Jared is happy to be living his dream career – one that combines his love of building and marketing. So he's now looking for another Marketing position in construction.

A Traditional Resume

Now let's look at what's especially interesting about this traditional chronological resume:

  • Despite Jared's rather round-about career path, it looks perfectly straight on his resume. His chronological resume contains no red flags – no cause for an awkward question about his past when he sits down for a job interview.
  • His achievements are strong and relevant, with measurable results that hint at his ability to rise to meet a challenge and succeed despite the odds.
  • His resume real estate within the Professional Experience section is wisely divided up. His current job takes up the most space; his second-most-recent job takes up less space; and his earliest job takes up the least amount of space. Visually this indicates career growth.
  • Education is placed at the bottom of the page. You might think with such a relevant MBA that it would go at the top. But Jared placed it at the end because the date of his degree is so many years ago. Note: he didn't list his BA in Psychology because the date for the degree goes too far back, and it's not necessary as the employer will know he must have gotten a bachelor's degree to qualify for a master's degree.

The Bottom Line

This chronological resume for a Marketing Manager is so lean and mean it fits on one page. This is largely possible because he started his Professional Experience section with only his recent relevant jobs. He left several earlier experiences off his resume all together without ever referring to them. Now that's smart marketing!


About this author...

Susan Ireland is the author of four job search books including The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Resume. For more information about writing your resume, read Susan's books or visit Susan's website SusanIreland.com.



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