RESUMES & RETURNING TO WORK
Clementine Crooks is the co-owner of Resume Restoration. She and Erin Wallace, both Calgary moms of three children each, are Career Transition Experts and leaders in their field, specializing in writing and designing affordable resumes that reap powerful results. Their combined skill sets of Human Resources and Graphic Design experience ensure their job seeking clients receive professional, targeted and modern resumes that capture an individual’s unique skills and expertise. The resumes that they create are professionally formatted using their custom designed, eye-catching templates. Clementine and Erin also specialize in and can provide support with Cover Letters, LinkedIn, and Job Interviews.
In this episode:
- How to write an impactful and functional resume that tells your story by highlighting your transferable skills, key accomplishments, and your experiences beyond your professional experiences.
- Tips and ideas for moms looking to head back to the professional world including remembering that it takes a village, reminding ourselves that we can’t be everything to everyone, and embracing the adventure.
- Communication is key in ensuring that we are the same page, with our family members and network, and that we are asking for and accepting the help that we need.
Connect with Resume Restoration:
Podcast: Resume Restoration Podcast
On this episode of The Part-Time Jungle Podcast, I had a great conversation with Clementine! We talked about how to write an impactful functional resume that tells your story, tips and ideas for moms looking to head back to the professional world, and how communication is key.
If you prefer to listen, check out Episode 17 of The Part-Time Jungle Podcast.
I really enjoyed my conversation with Clementine. Both she and Erin are incredibly knowledgeable and action oriented as well as warm and personable. Their business clearly goes beyond creating impactful resumes and cover letters and supporting people with interview preparation and LinkedIn profiles. They value building relationships with their clients and providing incredible support and encouragement for them with the daunting, but also exciting, journey of seeking and applying for employment opportunities.
Resume restoration was born in the spring of 2020 approximately two weeks before the Coronavirus pandemic started. It actually ended up being good timing for Clementine and Erin in that they were able to fully turn their business into a virtual business.
Clementine’s background is in human resources. She has about fifteen years of experience working in HR. Clementine completed her Master’s degree in Leadership in 2012 and started doing consulting for organizations across Canada. Eight years ago, she and her husband moved to Calgary from British Columbia and she decided to become a full time HR consultant. Clementine’s work included providing career transition support to professionals when they were terminated from a position. Her support was part of their severance package. Clementine recognized how fantastic it was that these professionals would receive support to help them navigate the world of becoming a job seeker. This was often a world that they hadn’t been in for a long time. We’re talking five, ten, fifteen, sometimes twenty years. She thought to herself that there had to be a way to offer these types of services in a cost effective and timely fashion to job seekers more universally.
Clementine and Erin have been friends for the past seven to eight years. Erin has a passion for graphic design and really specializes in creating impressive design content. Erin and Clementine combined their skills sets in creating Resume Restoration.
JUGGLING MOTHERHOOD & WORK
When it comes to juggling, motherhood and work, Clementine and Erin feel lucky that their business is fundamentally virtual. They meet with clients through virtual platforms such as Zoom, Facetime, or Skype. It works out really well for their clients too because they can meet with Clementine and Erin from the comfort of their own homes. Clementine and Erin are able to maximize their time and schedule by prioritizing and working efficiently. This enables them to meet with clients and to get their resumes back to them in a timely manner. This has been mixed into being moms and supporting their older children with home based learning schooling this past spring when schools were closed. It has been a busy schedule!
A POSITIVE DISTRACTION
Clementine and Erin each have three children. Erin’s children are 7, 5, and 2 years old and Clementine’s are 7, 4, and 2 years old. They both have a lot on their plates as moms! However, Clementine shared that both she and Erin feel so grateful for Resume Restoration especially during this crazier than normal time. They are able to serve their community and they really enjoy diving into their business. It’s been a wonderful distraction and one that they have very excitedly welcomed. It’s been an opportunity to not focus on the scariness of the world at the moment.
THE RESUME ROADBLOCK
Updating your resume, especially if you have been out of the workforce for a while can be a mental roadblock. Clementine and Erin have experience in supporting both friends and clients with overcoming this. It’s not uncommon to have uncertainty with how to navigate updating your resume and how to share your professional experience if you haven’t worked in a number of years. This roadblock in itself can prevent people from actually pursuing work at all. Clementine’s advice is to please not let that take place.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Clementine and Erin want all women, who are hoping to return to the workforce or who are concerned about their ability to return to the workforce, to know that they have someone in their corner. They can help you navigate how to tell your story in an effective, eye, catching, and impactful way.
MOVING AWAY FROM THE TRADITIONAL RESUME
When we think about resumes, Clementine says that the number one default is that people tend to think about the resumes that we were trained to write in highschool. These are the chronological or traditional resumes where you describe your work experience. When you haven’t worked in a ten year period, we worry that this significant gap is going to be a big red flag. This is something to consider. Right now, we are also in such a flooded market so we do need to be aware of not making these red flags really stand out in a resume.
THE FUNCTIONAL RESUME: TELLING YOUR STORY IN AN IMPACTFUL WAY
A functional resume, versus traditional resume, focuses on what transferable skills you bring to the table, your key accomplishments, and your “experiences” vs. just “professional experiences”. These elements add value to your application and support you being a strong candidate that an employer would like to interview. It’s all about understanding that you have the ability to customize your application, your resume, and your cover letter to tell your story as impactfully as possible.
- FOCUS ON TRANSFERABLE SKILLS: One of these ways is to shift your resume from a chronological resume to a more functional resume where you talk about relevant transferable skills for the job that you are applying for.
- FOCUS ON KEY ACCOMPLISHMENTS: This would involve focusing on key accomplishments throughout your professional career that are relevant for the job that you’re applying for. You can pull those key accomplishments out and present them on the initial page of your resume. This really engages the reader to want to read about what you have achieved throughout your professional career.
- EXPERIENCE VS. PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Instead of focusing solely on ‘professional experience’, you can speak to it as ‘experience’. This is when you can also include things like community engagement and volunteer initiatives. You can highlight these relevant pieces of experience that might not have necessarily been part of a professional formal job but are relevant and support your application. This speaks strongly about your value and what you have to offer.
YOUR RESUME, YOUR STORY
Clementine reminds us that the whole goal of a resume is to engage the reader. You have the ability to tweak the way you approach telling your story that doesn’t draw attention to any red flags but rather really sells you, the applicant.
HEADING BACK TO THE PROFESSIONAL WORLD
Clementine shared some valuable tips and ideas to support moms who are looking to transition back into the professional world.
- IT TAKES A VILLAGE: Clementine encourages us to remember that it takes a village when you have kids. I couldn’t agree more! The one thing that she strongly stands by, that allows her to commit herself the way she does to her professional career, is understanding that she can’t do it all. Clementine has a fantastic nanny. She calls her nanny her kids’ other mother and she is a part of their family. Clementine knows that with her nanny’s support, she is not letting her kids down and that they are in great hands. Recognizing that it takes a village and utilizing the resources that we have at our disposal is so important.
- WE CAN’T BE EVERYTHING TO EVERYONE: You can’t do everything. Nor does anyone necessarily expect you to do everything. It’s a bit of a self imposed criticism that we put on ourselves that we have to be everything to everyone all the time. It’s just not realistic. At the end of the day, the ones who suffer the most are ourselves. Ultimately, we take down how effective we are professionally and we take down how effective we are as mothers and as partners.
- EMBRACE THE ADVENTURE: Something that Erin and Clementine try to bring into the world of job seeking and in working with their clients, is that they impose a sense of excitement around the whole initiative of finding that next job and of embarking on that next great adventure. Clementine talked about how for many of us, our careers become so much a part of our identity. There can be an excitement in being in this unknown world of trying to find companies that we are aligned with, finding work that works for us, and in searching for the balance that we are looking for. As much as it can be an overwhelming and an intimidating process, it can also be really exciting, enjoyable, and fun. It’s a chance to play with what we could do and to leverage our skills in different ways. Clementine encourages us to have fun and to not be daunted by the process. There is a positive in it as well.
HIKING WITH THE FAMILY
Last year, Clementine and her family were hiking in the mountains in Panorama, one of their favourite places to explore. She had Peter, their youngest and a baby at the time, on her back in a hiking backpack. Clementine was walking ahead of her two daughters with her husband following along at the back so that they had the kids between them. This way, if any wildlife came, she and her husband would both have eyes on them and could take care of them.
As Clementine was walking along, she looked up and realized that she was within 15 feet of a mother black bear. Fight or flight kicked in and she did what you’re not supposed to do and turned around and ran! As she was running down the mountain, she came across her eldest daughter and yelled at her to run. Shortly after, she came across her husband and their middle daughter, who was three at the time, and she yelled, “Bear! Run!”.
WHO HAS WHO?
Her husband told her to take their three year old daughter, Mandy, and Clementine told her husband to take Mandy as she already had Peter on her back. Clementine continued to run thinking that her husband was behind her holding their three year old. However, when she looked back, to her shock, her little three year old was running by herself behind her literally as fast as her little legs could carry her. Her husband was nowhere to be seen. Clementine picked up Mandy and continued running down the hill until she and her two younger kids eventually got to a safe space. They stopped so Clementine could catch her breath but her husband was still nowhere to be seen.
A SIGH OF RELIEF
Ten minutes later, they finally saw her husband walking backwards down the path towards them. He had also gone into a flight or fight mode as well. His reaction was that if the bear were to come, he was going to run in a different direction to draw the bear away from the family. This was an incredibly noble response and one that had not even crossed Clementine’s mind!
A key lesson learned from this experience was that even in times of panic, it is important to value good communication. Secondly, when you have three kids always remember that poor middle child! Finally, always carry bear spray.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
On a broader scale, this story tells a really good lesson. It doesn’t matter if you’re working from home parents, if you are part-time working parents, or whatever that looks like. Our plates are full. This really drives home the importance of taking the time, when it’s needed, to really communicate and to communicate effectively. Clementine shared a fantastic quote: “In order to communicate effectively, communicate and then communicate three hundred more times than that.” We tend to think that we’ve done a good enough job sharing information and that’s not always the case. It is important that we make sure that we’re checking in with our partners and with our network. We need to constantly checking in to make sure that we’re all on the same page and supporting each other the way we need to.
LET THE SUPPORT IN
Clementine talked about how, through her experiences and conversations with friends, she sees how parents can default to thinking that they have everything under control. If we have been a stay at home mom for so many years, that role becomes a huge part of our identity. For some reason, when we do dive into returning to the corporate world, we still maintain this ownership of parenthood as being our main responsibility and are hesitant to let others in. It’s important to ensure that we’re accepting that support and understanding that you can’t be everything to everyone all the time. You can allow people to support you. One of the best ways we can achieve that is through communication. It’s important to understand that when someone’s making an offer of assistance, we’re not compromising their life or job. Choosing to accept support is a part of the balancing act of swinging motherhood and work.
THE TYPE E PERSONALITY
Clementine talked about a fantastic YouTube Video with Karyn Buxman (YouTube: Karyn Buxman: Personality Types) where she describes personality types including Type A, Type B, and Type E. The Type E personality describes the person who tries to be ‘everything for everybody’. This is the personality type that makes Clementine think about the working parent who’s trying to be everything at home and everything professionally. According to Karen, when a Type E is doing everything for everyone all the time and then, they can crash and go down. When this happens, they take down everyone else with them. It just isn’t sustainable. Working parents need to remember that it really does take a village.
WORDS OF WISDOM
Even if we have been out of the workforce for a while, Clementine speaks to the importance of recognizing our many incredible transferable skills. We can refocus and approach resumes or application forms by understanding and appreciating our value add and using our resumes and cover letters as an opportunity to share our stories in an impactful way. We don’t have to follow the typical chronological kind of traditional template of a resume. There are opportunities to be a little bit more creative such as including an accomplishment section and speaking to our experiences and not just your professional experience. We can really leverage our transferable skills which can help build confidence in understanding that we can return to work and that there are positions out there for us. Clementine reminds us to not be so fearful of the process and that if needed, there’s a lifeline in her and Erin available for support. We can’t be everything to everyone all the time. We should use our networks and communicate, communicate, communicate.
Thanks so much to Clementine for this fantastic conversation and thank YOU for tuning in!