No right answers

Published on Jul 08, 2024 by Matt Bud, The FENG
Resume Writing

In my continuing “joys of sailing” series, I thought I would talk about docks around Long Island Sound. Although one can drag anchor, one rarely drags dock. (A little sailing joke for you.)

Sure, it is a rather arcane topic, but hopefully it is one that you can use to amaze and astound your friends.

You would think that docking arrangements everywhere would be pretty much the same. After all, you have a boat, you have water, and you need to tie it up for the night. Well, you would be very wrong. The truth is that just about every place you go is a little different. Some marinas have pilings you have to snag on your way in. (And you thought walking and chewing gum was tough!) Some docks are at deck height, and some are just a few feet above the water. There are floating docks (my favorites) and there are fixed docks. And there are combinations in between.

All of them are, in a very real sense, appropriate answers to the same problem. Some arrangements are unique to solving specific problems in that harbor such as variations in the height of the tide. For example, there is a 7-8 foot tidal change in our harbor.

I am frequently asked for a model resume, one that you can basically copy and fill in the blanks. For the same reasons that docks vary considerably, your resume needs to as well. It needs to vary not only because you are different from others, but also you need to consider specific situations. Applying for a different type of job than one you have had requires a different focus for the same set of facts.

Sure, there are standard structures. Most people agree that functional resumes are not a good idea. However, a summary at the top describing who you are, and your chronological history following from most recent to least recent with more details for the most recent is a good starting point. Education is typically shown at the end with those graduation dates, please.

If only there were one right answer, even for you as a person, but alas there isn’t. Your goal is to communicate who you are and how you can solve the problem faced by your potential employer. Nothing more, nothing less.

Easily said, hard to apply in practice. And practice is where all of this lives. Write, rewrite and rewrite some more.

With any luck, you will find the right answer or series of answers that works best for you.

Regards, Matt