15 December 2008

The Resume Gap

A colleague and I were chatting about resume-building the other day. What we noticed was that the generation made of 50+ year olds puts a premium on specialization. They appreciate that their own resumes show that they have a very finely honed skillset. The rest of us? We're interested in appearing well-rounded. We like to show that we've been successful in more than one environment, integrate different content areas, and have a broad base of knowledge to draw from. A singular focus is not for us.

For example, I have a healthy high school science background...but my Master's is in gifted ed and my doctoral work in motivation and grading. I've taught junior high and coached in elementary. I'm techie, so to speak. I have a lot of experience in designing and implementing professional learning experiences.

I'm not interested in being pigeon-holed, but older colleagues are. We have a resume gap.

Is that a function of all aging, I wonder? The more you experience, the more you hone in on what you like? Or, is it a matter of opportunity---and I've had a chance to learn from a variety of experiences which were previously unavailable? Do employers have a greater interest in one or the other? I can certainly see benefits and drawbacks for each.

What do you think? Would you rather work with a specialist or a renaissance educator?


Stephers said...

I'm a renaissance educator so I thankfully teach mainly in self-contained. Over the years I have asked my students which subject I teach best when I thought I'd have to specialize. There has never been any real difference across the subjects. In keeping with that, I work on my professional development across the curriculum.

Snippety Gibbet said...

Renaissance. I think that everything in the world is connected and so teachers should have a broad range of interests and knowledge.

Nancy Flanagan said...

Well. I should probably say that I am over 50, and hate being pigeonholed. In fact, as a 30-year teacher, I assume I'm good at many things simply because I've been forc--umm, encouraged to do them, without training. Things like, say, mentoring new teachers. Or writing a blog. Or building virtual communities, developing interdisciplinary content, and standards-based instruction. BTW, S-Goddess, I also have a masters degree in Gifted Education.

Perhaps those of us over 50 have decided that we only (cough) have so many years left, and want to spend them doing our favorite things, not presenting workshops to youthful ingrates.

That was a joke.

Best, Nancy

The Science Goddess said...

This particular youthful ingrate hopes to be present at your feet during a future workshop! :)

Jenna said...

I believe it has more to do with generational job market expectations. Younger workers have experienced a career market that shows no expectation of providing employment for any second longer than is profitable and that tends to view "experience" as something suspicious and costly. Skill sets that allow for flexibility to be placed in any job are more valued by younger workers because it translates to better job security.

Hugh O'Donnell said...

Put me down for Renaissance, with a specialite. What good is a narrow range of expertise without a broad range of knowledge and experience to temper that narrow range?

For the record, I'm 64 and not close to quitting education.