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Relauncher Resume Basics

If you haven’t put together a resume in a while, this post is for you. Below I discuss key resume sections (in the order they should appear) and what to include. For each section, I’ve also added a “Pro Tip” to ensure that your resume effectively tells your story.

By Kendell Brown

Kendell Brown is a member of the iRelaunch Career Coaching team. Founder of Ascension Careers and a relauncher herself, She works with clients with to ascertain and achieve their career goals via strategic planning, positioning and branding assessments, identifying transferrable skills and providing counsel for working through challenging work situations. Kendell is an iRelaunch professional resume writer and offers discounts to the relauncher community. Learn more about this service here.



If you haven’t put together a resume in a while, this post is for you.  Below I discuss key resume sections (in the order they should appear) and what to include.  For each section, I’ve also added a “Pro Tip” to ensure that your resume effectively tells your story. 

Contact Info

Include your first and last name, an email address and your LinkedIn URL.
Pro Tip: If you are applying for a remote role and/or applying for a role that is not commutable, it’s ok to not include a home/physical address.

Professional Summary

This section is your best opportunity to grab a reader’s attention and convince them to read further.  Use your summary to provide a concise picture of your career.  Include career progression, relevant experiences and pertinent skills.
Pro Tip: This section is typically written in (short) paragraph form.

Technical Skills and Core Competencies

This is the most straightforward section of your resume.  List appropriate and relevant skills and talents that you have and employers want.  Revise this section based on the keywords and jargon in the posting.  Don’t feel obligated to list every skill an employer wants; you still need to accurately represent your abilities. 
Pro Tip: This section can help you “beat” an applicant tracking system, but it won’t get you all of the way there.  You still need to ensure that your resume speaks to the experiences, skills and certifications that the role requires. 

Significant Accomplishments

Necessary for two reasons a) highlight notable achievements and b) share successes from early in your career that might not make it on page 1 of your resume.
Pro Tip: Notable achievements can come from your professional career and your career break. 

Career Break Statement

Use this section to tell the story of your break.  This is an opportunity to answer questions before they arise.  No need to go into great detail, simply state that you left and ideally highlight any skill building activities you did during your break.
Pro Tip: End with a definitive/declarative statement your about return-to-work plans. 

  • Note: I know this is often the hardest part of the resume to write.  I’ve included sample Career Break Statements at the end of this article.

Professional Experience

In reverse chronological order, highlight your professional career.  Use bullet points to demonstrate your work experiences and the skills you developed.  Be sure to focus on successes not just responsibilities.  Lastly, it is critical to include key performance indicators to support and underscore your ability to make an impact.
Pro Tip: Present your volunteer experience in a manner identical to professional experience. 

Early Career History

If your resume is running over two pages, use this section to recap and highlight only the most notable successes from this stage of your career.  Although employers are typically most interested in a candidate’s recent achievements, this section is a great way for relaunchers to share significant and critical career aspects that don’t fit the resume standard of only going back 10 to 15 years.
Pro Tip: Take care to be concise.  Although you may have a lot to include, this section shouldn’t extend beyond ¼ to ⅓ of the 2nd page of your resume.

Education

As a relauncher, I’m assuming that you’ve been out of school more than 3 years.  Consequently, your work and career break experiences are more pertinent to an employer than where you went to college.  You can simply list your school’s name and the degree earned.  Your graduation year is optional.

A few “evergreen” resume tips:

  • Sell yourself – your bullets should be about your accomplishments, not your responsibilities
  • Action verbs – use dynamic language
  • Key performance indicators – quantify context (year over year declines of 10+%) and/or results (reduced error rate on average by 20-25%)
  • Revise for each job – incorporate industry/company/role-specific language
  • Review, review, review – no typos

Sample Career Break Statements

Many of my clients struggle to tell the story of their break, particularly if the break was atypical (i.e. not for childcare).  If this describes you, here are some thought starters:

Started an entrepreneurial venture:  Left workforce to pursue a business opportunity.  During the past 3 years, several large competitors entered the industry.  Excited to return to corporate workforce and leverage my 7 years of entrepreneurial experience in the aerospace industry.

Attended to a health concern:  Due to a personal health issue, stepped away from full-time employment.  Worked as a contractor on 4 large scale assignments and multiple projects over 5 years.  Currently, capable of returning to a full-time position.

Position terminated: Laid off due to merger between Company X and Company Y.  Completed an XYZ certification and currently pursuing ABC coursework.  Delayed returning to work to care for elderly parent.  Committed to returning to workforce and focusing on career.

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