What is a kitchen sink resume?
It’s the place you dump ALL your career-related experience, skills, qualifications, achievements, metrics, areas of knowledge, areas of interest, etc.
Everything about your career history − dating back to the beginning − goes into this resume.
Your first thought may be, “But that’s going to make it at least a 5-page resume, if not much longer! Isn’t that way too long?“.
The short answer is “Yes, 5 or more pages is probably too long for any resume.“
But you’re not going to put it into circulation . . . and not necessarily because it’s going to be such a long resume. No one but you will see this resume.
Your kitchen sink resume is not about specific targeting.
This resume won’t be clearly focused on your target employers’ needs and how you can help them. So, it’s probably not going to do a good job of positioning you for jobs.
This is your master resume . . . a lifelong repository from which you’ll grab bits and pieces to create or tweak the resume you WILL circulate, based on whatever companies you’re targeting in the job search you’re conducting at the time.
Because it’s unlikely these days − especially at the senior executive level − that you’ll stay in any one job for more than just a few years, you need to always be at-the-ready for a career move.
If a new great opportunity presents itself, or if you’re suddenly out of a job, you need to fairly quickly update your career marketing portfolio – relevant resume, biography and other career documents, and LinkedIn profile and other online presence.
Your early career history (beyond the most recent 10-15 years) may not be necessary in your circulated resume, but you should probably put it in your LinkedIn profile.
Be sure to flesh out those early jobs, adding details on your LinkedIn profile, instead of just posting your title and company name.
If you create your comprehensive kitchen sink resume, and keep adding new career experiences to it, you’ll have everything you’ll need to pull together the resume you WILL circulate.
How to Build Your Kitchen Sink Resume
Start with an outline of every job you’ve ever had, including:
- Your title and dates you held the position
- Company name, type of company (description), location and annual revenue
- Names of notable customers or clients (if applicable)
- Scope of your responsibilities
- Projects you contributed to and/or directed.
- Budgets you managed and amounts
- Direct and indirect reports, and their positions
- Specific contributions of yours, with metrics, that benefited the company
- Any special circumstances surrounding why you were hired?
- What was the situation you walked into? Were there serious problems you needed to fix?
- References who can attest to the value of your work.
Move on to your education:
- Name of institution and location
- Degree(s) earned with dates, areas of study and any recognition or notable achievements
- Any continuing education, seminars, training, etc.
- Certifications — full name of credential, certifying organization and date
Then work on these lists:
- All your skills and areas of expertise — both hard and soft skills (such as “people” skills)
- Technology expertise
- Social media experience and activity
- Presentations and publications (if any of it landed online, include the link)
- Career recognition (if any of it landed online, include the link)
- Professional Affiliations – name of organization, your involvement (member or leadership role) and dates
- Community service / volunteering – name of organization, your involvement (member or leadership role), notable efforts and dates
- Honors and awards — full name of award, presenting organization and date
- Hobbies, areas of interest, favorite personal pursuits
How to Make Your Kitchen Sink Resume Really Valuable
Flesh out the details
Dive into your outline and flesh out projects, achievements and career stories, using the C-A-Rs approach, or Challenge – Actions – Results, also called S-T-A-Rs (Situation – Tasks – Actions – Results):
Describe each significant contribution, in each job, in terms of business value, by answering the following questions. Try to come up with several examples for each job:
1. What was a specific CHALLENGE (or Situation) facing the company and/or your team? Were you/the company facing particularly difficult odds with this situation? What were the stakes?
2. What specific ACTION(s) did you take to meet the challenge and improve things (whatever the goal was or whatever needed turning around)?
3. What were the long and short term RESULT(s) of your ACTION(s) that positively impacted the company? Did you meet the goal, improve things, and/or turn around the situation? How long did it take to see the results? Monetize the results and/or use metrics whenever possible – NUMBERS TALK!
Having all these stories in your back pocket will also give you extra fodder for job search networking and interviewing.
Whew! Take a breath and congratulate yourself for compiling all this information.
Don’t be surprised if you have 20 or more pages of content, plus bulging folders of supporting documentation.
But I’ll bet you uncovered some juicy nuggets you forgot all about. Things that could be very important to certain employers.
Now, when it’s time for a career move, you’re ready to work on personal branding and create a resume, biography and LinkedIn profile that will resonate with target employers and help you land a good-fit job.
Whether you do the writing yourself or hire a career professional, you’re ready to go.