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Author Topic: Writing my Resume - How can I include informal experience?  (Read 1110 times)

Offline Austin DiCola

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Hello everyone,

I'm pretty exciting to be beginning my Peace Corps application. Currently I'm in the process of writing my resume for a position teaching English at a secondary education school in China.

I am young and lacking much formal experience, however there is something I very much feel is necessary to include on my resume.

For about three years now I've been assisting my Taiwanese (Chinese speaking) friend with her English. When she moved to the States to get her masters degree I helped her pass the test she needed for her professional certification (the English was pretty tough on the test). She secured a job working in her field, which requires her to complete quite a lot of documentation. So, she sends those documents to me (maybe 1-3 documents a week) and I go through them and correct all of her English.

I've learned so much from doing all of this, and it has made me appreciate the effort that people go through to learn English (or any language). Is there an appropriate way for me to add this experience to my resume? It would be a huge shame to leave it out.

Thanks in advance. I'm not very well experienced with resume writing.

Offline Austin DiCola

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Re: Writing my Resume - How can I include informal experience?
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2016, 05:50:11 PM »
I'm thinking that maybe I should add a "Relevant life experience" section to my resume. There I can include my experiences working with my friend, as well as the three weeks I made a personal trip to Taiwan to engage in local culture and to improve my Chinese abilities.

Would something like this work? I'm worried that things like this may be viewed as distasteful on a resume, however I feel that my resume might be a bit week in comparison to other volunteers'.

Thank you all for any advice you can give!

Offline Jeff

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Re: Writing my Resume - How can I include informal experience?
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2016, 12:06:35 AM »
I've never used a section like that, but you could always put a section titled "Other Experience" or something like that.  Then list it as tutoring experience and editing/proofreading experience.

Not the best resume writer, either, but that might work?
Jeff
RPCV - Ghana, 03-05
PCV - Macedonia, 15-17

Offline Austin DiCola

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Re: Writing my Resume - How can I include informal experience?
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2016, 12:38:29 AM »
Thanks Jeff! I went ahead and did something similar to what you suggested. However, the result seems somewhat unprofessional compared to the rest of my resume. I emailed a recruiter and will see if they are willing to provide some feedback. This is what I ended up writting in my "Relevant life experience" section:

Has spent several years working with a Taiwanese friend to improve her spoken and written English to better integrate her into her career in the United States.

   • Coached the friend in learning the English needed to pass the test needed for her occupational therapy certification.
   • Reviews and corrects 1 to 3 work-related documents written in English by the friend per week.
   • Is contacted several times a week by the friend to explain English grammar and correct her pronunciation.

January 2014 – present


In addition to this, I included an element about my trip to Taiwan, but I managed to make that sound much more professional:

Traveled to Taiwan as part of a personal trip to acquire Chinese language skills and experience alternate ways of life.

   • Spent one week of the trip living with a Taiwanese host family in Taichung.
   • Participated in an English study group in order to provide feedback for the group members.
   • Learned much about the complex political and historic dissonance between Taiwan and China by speaking with Taiwanese voters just days before the country’s general election.
   • Learned to navigate the country’s relatively hectic roadways via car and motor scooter.
   • Gained a significant and long-term boost in Chinese language skills and the ability to speak the language with confidence.
   • Learned of the many Taiwanese aboriginal groups by travelling to aboriginal villages and subsequently gained a loose understanding of class difference within the country.

December 26, 2015 – January 14, 2016


As you might be able to see, I'm really trying to make use of all of my informal experiences to compensate for the lack of more professional experience I have.


 

Offline Jeff

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Re: Writing my Resume - How can I include informal experience?
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2016, 07:09:21 AM »
Again, not professional advice by any means, but I would frame the experience similar to a job.

Rather than, "Has spent several years working with a Taiwanese friend to improve her spoken and written English to better integrate her into her career in the United States," try posing it as your job was Private English Tutor (Volunteer).  Or something like that.

Your duties are Tutoring an individual in the English language, Working with the individual to proofread and edit English-language work-related documents, Served as a coach and reference on English grammar and pronunciation, etc.

Something like that?
Jeff
RPCV - Ghana, 03-05
PCV - Macedonia, 15-17

Offline Austin DiCola

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Re: Writing my Resume - How can I include informal experience?
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2016, 05:26:07 PM »
Hey Jeff, thanks for replying again. Your advice was really helpful. I spoke with a few friends and acquaintances about framing my experience in the way that you mentioned and they all agree it looks much better on the resume.

I entered my work with my friend as "Language coaching". I feel that's a fair and accurate way of describing it. I also left out specific mention of my friend, as I have worked with other people in the past.

Thanks Jeff! I hope your service in Macedonia has been going well.