Resume Help/Query..


Good day
I am currently redoing my resume and have some questions.
My experience includes 3+ years as a sales associate, and 4+ years as an administrative assistant.
I do not have any experience in finance / investments and I am searching for an entry level finance job. However I do have an MBA Finance degree.
Can you tell me:
1. What do I put for experience if I do not have any finance experience?
2. Also how do I state that I have diverse experience working in many different area but not list them and state it in a sentence or two. For example I did menial jobs that did not require any degree like packing shelves and replenishing stock. What should I do in this instance. Also how could I state that experience from unrelated jobs could help me with this position.
3. Also I happen to have alot of knowledge (practical skills) which I gained from studying books and not from work experience. Under what heading and how should I fit these into the resume.
These are skills gained from studying and not from working experience.


First, my apologies for the delayed response.  It was only this morning (Monday) that I was alerted to your question.  Apparently, for some technical reason, the notification of your pending question did not reach me until now.

As to your questions, I am assuming you are a fairly recent MBA graduate and that your other experience was gained either during, or prior to, your MBA degree.  If so, you have a lot of company.  Many people (myself included) held non-related jobs until getting our careers started in earnest.

First, under "Experience" in your resume, put the work history that you actually have.  True, it is not specifically related to the entry-level position you are seeking, but it just is what it is.  That's your experience so far.  You need to blend your second question with the first.  That is, in VERY short (4-6 word) bullets under each job, list 3 or 4 of the most pertinent experiences, anything that might even remotely match the skills that are requested in the specific job announcement.  Packing shelves and replenishing stock would not be among those things listed, but think of the duties you performed in a slightly different way.  What things that you did or responsibilities that you had might translate, however remotely, into the skills required of you in the position for which you are applying?  Those are the things you would highlight.

I should digress here a bit and tell you something that most job seekers do not observe.  That is, anything you put into a resume and cover letter MUST specifically address the needs of the employer to which you are applying.  You cannot use the same resume for every application.  What kinds of things is the employer looking for?  What are the required qualifications?  THOSE are the things you address in the resume and cover letter.  And since each employer will be looking for slightly different things, that is why every resume and cover letter must be written specifically with that employer's needs in mind.  

As to your third question, whatever you have learned from study is certainly in your favor.  But it is NOT something that you are going to put in your resume.  That is not the place for it.  The resume is a very brief snapshot of who you are.  Any narrative you want to present needs to go in the cover letter.  But even there I would not advise you listing things you think you have learned from reading.  If there is a skill you believe you possess AND which the employer is looking for, you would briefly mention that in your cover letter and look forward to describing it in more detail during the interview.  The reason I am advising you along these lines is that many job applicants list fairly meaningless things in their resume that they believe they possess.  We call these things boilerplate.  They are things that many people claim but which they provide no concrete evidence for in the work they have actually done.  Since, by your own admission, these are things you did not gain from work experience and, therefore, cannot point to as things you have actually done, it is not persuasive to claim these skills (whatever they are) without proof that you can actually DO them.

One of the things I do on a daily basis is evaluate applicants' resumes and cover letters.  I have written a couple of books on the subject of job searching and do workshops for job seekers constantly.  I would be happy to evaluate your resume at no charge to you if you'd care to send it to me.  If so, attach it to an email and send it to and put "Resume" in the subject line so I don't accidentally delete it.  If you don't want my critique, that's fine, of course, it's merely an offer of help.

Hope this helps; best wishes,

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Ralph D. Converse, Ph.D.


I can answer questions about general job searches, resume construction, crafting an effective cover letter, and how to prepare for, and conduct, a winning interview. My speciality is the field of education, but I also have extensive background in business and administration. I know what works and what doesn't work and I can make your application package stand out from the rest ... because that is what you have to do.


I have interviewed for, and held, dozens of jobs in a career going back more than 42 years. I have taught at all educational levels including middle school, high school, community college, and university. In more than 42 years of experience on both sides of the job-search process, I have interviewed hundreds of applicants and have reviewed literally tens of thousands of job application packages. I am the author of 12 Mistakes That Got Your Job Application Rejected ... And How To Fix Them! I conduct workshops for job seekers in a variety of locations every year.

Music Educator's Journal, Teaching Music, Music and American Culture (forthcoming, 2013), Last Teacher Standing: The Job is Yours Now! and 12 Mistakes That Got Your Job Application Rejected ... And How To Fix Them!

B.A. New Mexico State University; M.Mus. Southern Illinois University; Ph.D. University of California and University of North Texas

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