Monday, May 5, 2014

Asking for a resume?

In the olden days people apprenticed for and became an occupation, usually in the family.  People were farmers or blacksmiths and that’s what they did.  In more recent times people worked for a company for a lifetime then retired with their pension (“Great Uncle Joe worked for Bethlehem Steel”).  You may not have the actual job but you knew he was a steelworker. As genealogist we had that information in the records filed under occupation.  

The problem is that occupation is not longer occupation.  People move from company to company and from job to job and it is getting harder to document all the transitions in peoples lives.  The solution is to get the information straight from the horse's mouth and ask for a resume.  If a person is willing to give a resume to a random HR person, why not the family genealogist?  

Having a resume tracks the timeline of where a person worked and what they did.  So if Aunt Sue was a corporate mogul then quit to open a cupcake shop, you have a record of it.  This does not even have to be the person’s “official” resume.  It is more of a work history with dates, company and job title.  Having this you can keep up with the past work history and come back for future changes.  

If the person does not have a resume just go through and ask where they worked, when and for how long.  Write up the work history and add it to the family story.

People are more mobile than ever and job titles can be deceiving about what they actually do. Asking for a resume and putting into your software is a novel way to document occupation.  So if a future generation goes to work for IBM, instead of saying "your Uncle Bill worked there in the 1980's" you can say "Uncle Bill worked there from 1985-1988 as a Systems Analyst in the Washington DC field office."

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