Translating Experience with Startups and Holocracy Organizations

When you spend your early career in an environment like a startup, small business or organization without a traditional management structure, it can be more complicated to explain your work history and experience in a way that will be understood and appreciated by recruiters and hiring managers not familiar with that type of setup. So how can you translate startup and holocracy experience on your resume?

You first need to know which of the many roles you’ve been working on in the startup/holocratic environment is most of interest to you going forward in your career. O*NET has resources for searching career paths by industry, projected future demand, job family and skills to help you begin to narrow your focus. Do some thinking, research, writing and consulting with others you trust, or, better yet, find a mentor who is doing your dream job and figure out which of your many areas of experience are most relevant to that job and highlight them in your resume.

The smaller the organization, the less defined the roles are, because everyone must “wear many hats” to get the job done. Sometimes greater collaboration without defined roles or teams has been identified as an asset, as it is with even some larger or more mature organizations that have chosen this type of framework for strategic reasons. The flexibility you have exhibited in your past roles, the willingness to do more than what’s on a “job description,” the collaboration with others to achieve results-all of it makes you successful in a role where this is valued. Focusing on the types of organizations (like your previous employers) that have this need, like small businesses and startup companies, will make your search more fruitful.

If, on the other hand, you are looking for jobs where you are expected to be deeply experienced in one area, in a hierarchical organization where you need to interact with different specialty departments, you will need to rethink how you characterize your past experience to fit that type of environment. If you have worked with finance as part of another role, but your goal is to work exclusively in finance, then focus on those activities on your resume. The willingness to get out of your comfort zone and work beyond your job description will still be important, but you will need to get to know how it can add value, and help the employer make that connection.

Above all, you must detail the actual results you achieved on your resume. What you have experience doing is important, but the real and substantial outcomes you created are of the greatest interest to recruiters and hiring leaders, no matter what role you take on, or what type of organization you join next.

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Kelly Marinelli