Resume Help/en garde


QUESTION: Hello Ralph, I've had a variety of jobs over the years and none of them seem to fit. Now I'm almost 30 years old and I still haven't found my good fit.

I've been a Panera baker, a laborer in construction, a customer service rep, a salesman for a plastics company, a golf pro shop employee, and until last week I was trying to learn e-commerce for a Chinese importing company.

I keep losing my job though. It's like I either don't fit in there, or I get too bored, or I don't learn fast enough. Last week I got fired again because "I wasn't learning fast enough". I always get to work on time, I don't leave early or fight with people or act mean or anything. I don't do anything bad. It's just like I don't fit in anywhere. It's real strange. Sometimes I have trouble focusing because I'm SO BORED working in offices or doing other stuff that doesn't interest me.

I'm thinking about taking a job as a Knight at Medieval Times (it's an entertainment castle where they do dinner and a show set in an 11th century castle, you can see it on google). This job is basically like riding horses, doing scripted sword fights, acting-jousting, things like that.

The pay isn't great, it starts at $13 an hour as a Squire, then you get bumped up to $17.50 after 3-5 months of being a Squire and become a Knight. It's full-time. No benefits but that's ok because I'm getting married this winter and I'll have my wifes benefits.

I'm kind of unsure though because I'm wondering, where do I go from here. Am I messing up my resume and my employment future by taking a job like this? I don't think riding horses and jousting qualifies me for anything else in the future. But I feel like this type of job might be more interesting to me because it's very different, it isn't sitting in an office in front of a computer or talking to customers on the phone. I think maybe I could do good at this job.

I've been going from job to job since college, and I don't really know what to do next. I'm wondering if maybe this type of work might keep me interested because it's something so different, and I seem to be a different kind of person. Please help me make a decision.


ANSWER: Hi Arnold,

I think your next step should be to take a serious look at what you have aptitudes for, where you might "fit" (as you put it), and what you would find rewarding.

I work with a woman who does exactly what I am talking about: she does job matching with a Talent Profile.  It provides you with a report that gives you a comprehensive look at who you are and where your best fit would be.

The woman's name is Kyla Bonnstetter and runs a company called Top Talent International.  She takes the completed profile that you fill out and matches it to various employers or job types.  It will cost you some money to take this, but the bottom line is that it will give you what you need going forward so you don't have this continuing merry-go-round of jobs.  The longer you continue on the path you are on, the worse it makes your resume look.  Every employer will look at it and come to the conclusion that you have no idea what you want to do.  And, according to what you have written me, that assessment would be correct.

After you have taken the profile, let me see your resume and I will help you build one that focuses on your skills, not your job history.  Write me to the email address below and attach the resume after you have the profile results back.

Kyla's email is

Tell her you and I have corresponded and that you want to take the Talent Profile.  She will give you the procedure.

Best wishes to you!

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QUESTION: Hi Ralph thanks for the info. But I'm not sure I can do this right now. It doesn't say anything about actually "getting" me a job, just what type of job I *might* like to do....that doesn't mean anyone will actually hire me, or that anyone is hiring for that job in my area. Besdies I just lost my job and I probably can't afford it right now.

So I'm guessing in your opinion that's a "no" about becoming a noble Knight at Medieval Times? Is it really that bad?


ANSWER: Hi Arnold,

I am not necessarily telling you that you shouldn't work at Medieval Times.  I am familiar with the show; I have seen it.  But that isn't really the issue.

The issue of "getting" you a job is really you.  It isn't the circumstances or past employers or jobs in the past or future.  It is all about you.

I'm not sure what the word "it" refers to in "It doesn't say anything about actually getting me job."  If you are referring to the profile, of course it doesn't.  It isn't supposed to, because the only thing that can "get" you a job is you.  And the profile does not tell you "what type of job you might like to do."  It will describe your strengths and weaknesses and match that to a career which needs the kinds of strengths you have, but the "getting a job" part is entirely up to you.

And you are correct.  It does not mean anyone will actually hire you or what jobs are in your area.  But, again, it isn't supposed to.  The only thing that can address those issues is what you decide to do.  Job searching is a lot like life in general - it's all about the decisions you make, and it doesn't appear to me you have made a lot of great decisions.

The questions you need to ask yourself, Arnold, are what are you actually good at?  What do you enjoy doing more than anything else?  What skills do you have?  What qualifications do you have for jobs that are in your area (I assume you are not willing to relocate)?  What did your education train you to do?  If it didn't train you to do what you love to do, why didn't you get educated in ways that would address the career you wanted to pursue?  If you don't know what career you want to pursue, I suggest you find out.  If you don't want to take the Talent Profile, you need to find something or someone who can help you discover yourself.  It seems to me you don't really know yourself well enough to make a good decision on what to do next.  And I can't tell you that - nor can anyone else.  Only YOU can decide that.  But you need some help.

If you and I lived closer together, I could meet with you and probably tell you within about 10 minutes what the issues are that you are having regarding keeping a job.  But since we only have this forum, it is very difficult to determine those things.

You are going about this job search thing all wrong - but you have a lot of company.  A lot of people I consult with go about it wrong.  You are taking any job that comes along simply because it's offered to you.  That is not a great career track.

You only mentioned your education in passing ("since college") but you didn't say what you studied, what college it was, if you graduated, etc.  That would be useful information to me, but in lieu of that, I suggest you search inside yourself for the answers to the questions I posed to you in the paragraph above.  If you can answer those questions honestly, I think that will give you a good start.

Good luck!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Ralph, though I should probably call you Professor Converse, I'm really sorry I didn't notice the ph.D before.

I appreciate your honesty and I wish I had someone in *real life* to give me this kind of advice. I wish someone like you had been around 10-15 years ago really. Anyway I saw on your profile that you've been a teacher for lots of years. I've always thought about teaching but I don't know anything about it. At all my jobs people are always telling me how good I am at showing people things and teaching them things, because I'm patient and I like helping others do well. But I don't know anything about teaching or how to become a teacher. Don't I need to be a professor to teach college students? Some of my college teachers weren't "professors" technically but most of them were.

I got my Bachelor's degree in Marketing but I've never been called back for any of the jobs I applied for. They all want lots of desktop software and technical analytics experience and most of the marketing/advertising classes I took taught us about copywriting and press releases, blogging and social media, and I never learned Illustrator or Photoshop, etc. So I don't have any *real* experience with that, so nobody calls me for interviews. You're right, I take whatever jobs I can find because I have to do *something* to keep myself afloat and avoid collections and bankruptcy. Isn't that what everyone does unless they're rich?

There are lots of schools nearby, universities and a couple of community colleges. I always see part time/full time teaching positions posted on job boards like indeed and careerbuilder. It looks like they're always hiring teachers, even for things like Digital Marketing and Media Studies. I like the idea of making a career out of teaching others, but I don't know how good my chances are of getting a full time job without some teaching experience on my resume. I don't know  how to get teaching experience either, without actually being a teacher. If I can't get hired without teaching experience then how am I supposed to get teaching experience?

I was an A student in college and I wouldn't mind going back for my Master's degree to become a teacher. Can you please tell me about how to become a teacher and how to get a full time teaching job without experience? Can you please tell me what teaching college is like? I'd probably be applying at community colleges because their job boards are always full of teaching positions.

Thanks Prof. Converse

Hi Arnold,

I'll try to give you the short version of what is required here in answer to your questions.  I could write you a book on what you are asking, but I think a few sentences will give you the basic idea.

If you want to teach, I strongly suggest you go back to school and get a Masters degree in marketing or some business-related field.  While you are doing that, I would find out what is required in your state to get a teaching certificate for public school teaching and begin there.  As you are finishing your MA you could see what jobs are available in high schools or community colleges in your area in the business field.  If you want to start in high school teaching (a lot of openings there), you'll need state certification.  If you want to go into community college teaching, you don't need certification, but you will probably need a MA degree at a minimum unless the position is adjunct (part time).  A lot of teachers begin in public school, get experience, move into community college teaching for experience and then go into university positions either as an adjunct or on a tenure-track.

However, if university teaching is your goal, you will likely need a Ph.D. since there are so many unemployed doctoral graduates out there without jobs.  In other words, having the MA will get you a adjunct position, but it is highly unlikely to get you considered for a tenure-track (full time) university position.

I began by teaching high school, then went into community college teaching, and ended my career as a tenure-track associate professor (university positions include lecturer, assistant professor, associate professor, and full professor).

What I am saying to you here is that you will need to start at the bottom of the profession and work your way up the ladder through the system if that is what you want to do.  Keep in mind that there are lots of other issues involved in teaching besides working with students (outside assignments, extra duties, committee work, and of course the usual institutional politics).  If you are willing to do that, start looking for positions in the early spring of next year and consider going back for your MA as soon as possible.

Lots of teachers (first year teachers) get jobs without teaching experience on their resume.  But the MA you get when you go back to school should include some education component.  Check with the university educational department or school to see what education courses they suggest you pursue while you work on your business MA.  You may want to consider an MBA degree with an education component, but talk to the business department to see what track they suggest.  There are departmental advisers to help you plan your degree.

Hope this helps.  Good luck!

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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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