For many job seekers, the traditional reverse chronological and functional resumes simply do not offer the appropriate vehicle for telling their particular stories. These include those new to a career, returning to a career,

or having a non-linear path with sporadic experiences in the field. The answer might lie in the clustered resume® . As its title suggests, the clustered resume presents the bulk of the individu

al’s relevant education, training, and work experience in clearly defined blocks or clusters. The document becomes in effect, a series of two or more mini-reverse chronological resumes, the first of which provides your most relevant experience and strengths in a clearly defined group. In this manner, the writer can present solid chunks of value, without the reader having to wade through or hop over non-related jobs and projects, or irrelevant and dated education and training.

This is Gary’s section. He coined and trademarked the term Clustered Resume®, a very descriptive and useful term. He has taken this special type of resume further than probably any other writer today. He has experimented with many ideas over the past ten years and has pretty well found all the ways to add value using this style of resume. If you sense that the other types of resume may not fully meet your needs, study this chapter carefully.

Gary introduces the clustered resume with Donald Jones. Don’s resume shows the benefit of this style. While a reverse chronological resume could be used, it would not have sold him as well. Below, Gary explains why the clustered resume made sense for Donald.


258 S 44th St Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104 (267) 555-7667

OBJECTIVE: Manufacturing Management


• Ten years’ successful experience in manufacturing management and

supervision combined with a solid sales history.

• Record of improving systems and procedures which consistently increased

productivity while reducing costs.

  • Effective personnel manager and team builder recognized for increasing communication and morale while reducing turnover in a variety of highly demanding settings.
  • Winner of numerous achievement awards for production and quality.
  • Strong decision maker noted for the ability to turn marginal and failing operations into profit makers.

BA – Business Administration, Temple University (1989)


“Managing for the Future”—American Management Consultants, 16 hours (2001)

“The Quality Challenge”—The Manufacturing Group, 8 hours (2000) “Managing Diverse Employees”—American Management Consultants, 8 hours



Northeast Dynamics & Manufacturing Inc., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1989 to 2005

PRODUCTION MANAGER—2001 to 2005. For this manufacturer of specialized

parts for the aerospace industry, performed a variety of critical management

functions. Reported directly to the Vice President of Manufacturing. Supervised three assistant managers and a workforce of 150. Developed and implemented

annual goals and budgets. Facilitated regular production meetings. Designed

and implemented improved training for all workers resulting in higher measured

productivity and reduced turnover. Facilitated regular production meetings

to generate ideas and resolve problems. Worked with engineering to expand

capacity, which resulted in a 15% reduction in product delivery time. Received

several merit raises and performance bonuses. ASSISTANT PRODUCTION MANAGER—1996 to 2001. Directed manufacture of all metal components. Managed a staff of three supervisors and a 40-person crew.

Created production priorities and schedules. Resolved production problems. Crew

received highest productivity rating in plant two consecutive years.

Previous Positions Within Company PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR (1994 to 1996) LEAD WORKER (1991 to 1994) ASSEMBLER (1988 to 1991)


REAL ESTATE AGENT, SarCar Real Estate, Philadelphia, PA (2006-to present)

builDing the CluStereD reSume

Career Resumers

Like our friend Donald, on the previous page, workers have been known to take detours from their formal careers and then choose to eventually return. The clustered resume can be of enormous value to these candidates. Since Donald’s real career was manufacturing management, we used the Qualifications section to establish that fact right out of the chute. The forthcoming clustering of jobs under the heading of “Manufacturing Experience” provided his entire experience in that field. Thus, the reader did not have to trip over the Real Estate period of his life enroute to his relevant experience.

As a real estate agent, Donald has performed some office management functions, purchasing, and training. As these skills are all part of management he can add them to his repertoire in letters and interviews if he needs them.

Other special accomplishments, such as being a leading sales producer, also are worth mentioning. For hard-to-move properties, he had to creatively identify and contact the most likely purchasers, market/show the properties, work with the sellers, assist the buyers in obtaining financing, and close the deals. These are impressive logistical skills and achievements valuable to almost any position. Had his manufacturing experience been less impressive, we probably would have created a job narrative to describe these additional assets.

Example #1 Returning to a previous occupation

Ross Coleman, took a similar detour from his career path as Donald. He was a highly skilled and successful purchasing manager who left the corporate world to live his dream of buying, remodeling, and selling residential properties. He had a solid three-year run before tiring of self-employment and wishing to return to the corporate world.

Since his major successes were his corporate management and entrepreneurial experience, we presented them as two distinct clusters, with the more relevant purchasing experience leading off, even though it was the more dated of the two. Ross needed to demonstrate his successful purchasing career with major companies right off the bat in order to have a chance at capturing the reader’s attention. The fact that the dates are less recent is a secondary consideration to the overall impact of his corporate career.

Times New Roman


820 Mercer Street Cherry Hill, New Jersey 08002 (856) 555-3520

OBJECTIVE: Supply chain management


• Strong background in corporate and supply chain management for national

companies combined with successful entrepreneurial experience.

  • Effective negotiator with the ability to achieve win-win outcomes.
  • Track record of increasing sales, market share, and profits in all settings.
  • Record of implementing successful cost containment and efficiency enhancing


• Regularly selected for corporate and regional special assignments.


B.A. – Human Resource Management, Temple University (1996)


Verizon Wireless, Cherry Hill, New Jersey 1999 to 2004 MANAGER OF SUPPLY CHAIN ENTERPRISE PROCUREMENT – 2002 to 2004. Assigned by executive management to centralize and streamline national purchasing programs in such areas as commercial printing, office equipment/supplies, and fulfillment/distribution. Reviewed existing programs to identify most serious issues and developed corrective action. Designated as “super user” for SAP and PeopleSoft integrated buying systems. Trained, supervised, and developed a group of six

assistant buyers. Selected, negotiated, and administered contracts with regional and national suppliers.

Reduced annual costs in commercial print by $8 million (18%), $20 million (22%) in office equipment, and $7.5 million (28%) in digital print and fulfillment. MANAGER OF NATIONAL & DIRECT DEALER ACCOUNTS/SUPPLY CHAIN

– 1999 to 2002. Selected by executive management to integrate newly acquired

companies into the Verizon purchasing-management structure and distribution channel

network. Visited distributors and retailers to resolve concerns. Developed customized strategies and procedures to resolve contract compliance for both national accounts and over 10,000 independent customers. Resolved critical distribution problems with the company’s largest account, improving shipping from 76% to 99% compliance. Earned Executive Club award for excellence.

Trademart Drugs, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1997 to 1999 SENIOR BUYER – For this drug store retailer, recruited to centralize the purchasing structure of the 20-store chain. Developed and implemented an ordering procedure for over 40,000 products. Evaluated existing vendors and buying programs. Negotiated new contracts and renegotiated existing ones. Purchased $75 million in annual products, more than one-third of the chain’s inventory. Developed and introduced a new film developing program which tripled revenues and provided a profit margin significantly greater than the previous vendor’s program.

Special Assignment: Selected to work with First Auto Corporation to implement an

automated category tracking system and train corporate users. The system improved

planning and significantly increased accuracy in ordering. Served with CEO on a

special Pricing Strategy Committee.

Prior Purchasing Experience: Assistant Buyer/Buyer/Senior Buyer, Dixon Manufacturing 1988 to 1997


Coleman Properties, LLC, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, 2004 to Present

OWNER/GENERAL MANAGER – Started this small property development company

to purchase, restore, and sell vintage homes. Developed financing and recruited a

designer, an architect, contractors, and realtors. Identified and negotiated purchases of

target properties. Worked closely with designers and architects on design. Obtained

permits and purchased all materials and supplies. Implemented production schedules

and timelines. Supervised all work to assure quality and progress. Managed all

financing, accounting, payroll, and tax filings. Successfully restored seven properties to

vintage condition resulting in successful and profitable sales.

Example #2 Using three employment clusters to seal the deal

Pamela had a diverse background including office and operations management, mortgage lending, and as a skilled healthcare provider. Her current goal was to access the medical field as an administrator or office manager.

Her management experience was the most important and relevant of the various clusters of experience. Notice how the two management positions combine to provide a solid block of management achievement despite the fact they are not consecutive.

The mortgage section adds an additional dimension of experience and skills in a structured and regulated environment.

Finally, since her education and technologist experience was early in her career, it was sufficient to merely list her positions and locations. The important point is that she spent this period of her life in the medical profession, specifically in hospital settings. Her service at such a pedigree facility as UCLA Medical Center was a major asset with no further explanation required.

Bookman Old Style


112 Bellevue Way #355 Bellevue, Washington 98004

(425) 555-8740


Successful experience in business and office management combined

with solid experience as a skilled medical technologist. Proven ability to manage multiple tasks, projects, and assignments simultaneously.

Demonstrated ability to quickly learn and master new methods, systems, and procedures. Track record of regular promotions and increasing responsibilities. History of improving processes resulting in

greater efficiency and productivity.

Broad experience in hospitals. Work effectively with doctors, administrators, coworkers, and patients. Understand hospital operations.


Majestic Home Improvement, Renton, Washington 2004 to Present OFFICE/BUSINESS MANAGER – Perform a wide range of

administrative and financial functions for this prominent regional home improvement/roofing contractor. Key areas of responsibility include

HR, project insurance, bonding compliance, and customer relations.

Upgraded processes resulting in greater efficiency and accuracy. Manage all day to day financial activities including A/R, A/P, and

bank deposits as well as reconciling bank statements and credit card accounts. Administer customer accounts. Process contracts and prepare sales orders. Immediately resolve customer and vendor account issues. Have consistently enhanced responsibilities throughout time of service.

Andrew Stringer & Associates, Tacoma, Washington 1992 to 2001

SHOWROOM MANAGER – Directed all day-to-day operations for four showrooms for this national manufacturer’s representative. Reported directly to owner. Supervised and scheduled three assistant managers and two support staff. Oversaw merchandising of over 100 product lines ranging from home décor to gifts and accessories. Worked closely with vendors on merchandising and display issues. Monitored all areas to assure optimum appeal and appearance. Assisted both customers and sales teams in order processing.

Scheduled and managed special events and shows. Coordinated all logistics ranging from catering to casual labor recruitment. Events consistently drew over 1,000 customers, generating substantial seasonal purchasing revenue. Attended national and regional

tradeshows to identify and select merchandise. Received consistently excellent feedback on quality of all efforts.


Brothers Mortgage Company, Tukwila, Washington 2001 to 2004

LOAN OFFICER – Managed all client transactions from initial contact through loan closure. Worked closely with over 100 lenders throughout the region. Achieved 100% underwriter approval.



Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA 1988 to 1992 RADIOLOGICAL TECHNOLOGIST, St. Joseph Hospital, La Jolla, CA 1982 to 1988


Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, QuickBooks, ACT! Database


Certificate – Marketing, University of Washington 2002

AA – Radiology Technician, Bellevue Community College 1982

Example #3 Using multiple clusters to fully sell education, training, projects, and work experience

John was about to embark on a new career in the world of technology. His primary qualifications were his education and training combined with modest practical experience.

To get the most mileage from these assets, we basically clusterized all his education, technical training, and projects to focus the reader’s attention entirely on the specialized knowledge, skill, and experience he gained in the run up to his new career.

The inclusion of his work history documented his ability to maintain employment previous to and during his technical studies. The quality and transferability of his experience were fleshed out in the Qualifications section, cover letters, and interviews.

Lucida Bright


2654 232nd Ave SE Sammamish, Washington 98074 (425) 555-2345

OBJECTIVE: IT Technician


  • Strong blend of current technical education, training, and certifications combined with solid practical experience and proven work ethic.
  • Customer-oriented professional with a reputation for service, satisfaction, and results.
  • Proven ability to manage multiple tasks, projects, and assignments simultaneously.
  • Creative troubleshooter able to quickly identify and resolve problems.
  • Demonstrated ability to quickly learn and utilize new methods, systems, and technologies.


AA – IT Technical Support, Green River Community College (2008)

AA – General Business Management, Green River Community College (2006)


Cisco Network Support, North Seattle Community College (Fall 2006)

Windows 2000 Client/Server O/S, North Seattle Community College (Summer



  • CPU Upgrade
  • RAM Upgrade
  • SCSI IDE Installation
  • IDE Installation
  • Optimizing BIOS Settings
  • Network Card Installation


Computer Kit: Completely built a computer in under 30 minutes, including motherboard, floppy, hard drive, CD-ROM, CPU, RAM, video & sound card, and monitor.

Visual Basic: Created and programmed a purchase order template that automatically calculated total costs of various products including algorithm for different state taxes.


CompTIA A+ Certification Core Hardware: Installation, Configuration, Upgrading, Diagnosing &

Troubleshooting, Preventative Maintenance, Motherboard, Processors, Memory, Printers, Basic Networking

O/S Systems Technologies: O/S Fundamentals, Installation, Configuration, Upgrading, Diagnosing & Troubleshooting, Networks


LAB TECHNICIAN – Green River Community College, PC Analysis & Configuration Lab, Fall 2003. Assisted and assessed students in completing lab assignments. Maintained lab and network, tested hardware, and upgraded systems.


Rush Medical Institute, Seattle, Washington Spring–Summer 2008

INSTRUCTOR/COMPUTER LAB/NETWORK TECHNICIAN – Taught a 30-student class in basic computer skills and maintenance for this medical-technician training center. Created and added segments in complete internal and external hardware maintenance and minor repair.


DESK CLERK, Bishop Inn, Fairfax, CA (2002–2004)

JOBSITE SUPERVISOR, Plosker Contracting, San Anselmo, CA (2000–2002)

Example #4 Using effective clusters for education, additional training, and an internship

Internships, Externships, and Practicums are excellent clusters for providing work experience that also bolsters education. They emphasize the systematic way the writer is transitioning into the new career, taking the reader along on the journey from education to experience.

This candidate’s job history, as might be expected of a young person, is not top-heavy with examples of major league-level experience. What she does have is a solid and long-term work history, regularly performing management functions, which nicely complements her education.

The internship and market entries are designed to showcase the applicant’s management-related duties. Even though the supermarket position contains reference to the checker position, description is not necessary. The reader will understand that the management role was one that was earned at a later date.

For Roberta’s resume we will concentrate on her education, additional training, her internship, and her previous work experience.


Roberta James

10645 W Riley Boise, Idaho 83709 (208) 555-2121

OBJECTIVE: Management


BA – Business Management, Boise State University (2007);

graduated with honors Specialized Coursework: Organizational Management, Ethics, HR Management, Financial Management, Management Techniques, Business Communication


Managing in the Global Market, Marketing Club Seminar, 4 hours (2007) Managing Diversity, Sims Associates, 8 hours (2006) Business Planning, Small Business Administration, 8 hours (2006)


Northern Expeditors, Inc., Boise, Idaho Summer 2007

OPERATIONS ASSISTANT – Supported the Operations Director of this regional fulfillment company in managing warehouse, receiving, and

shipping operations. Reviewed orders prior to shipment to assure completeness. Monitored labeling for postage and international customs compliance.

Quickly identified and resolved errors resulting in substantial savings.

Prepared regular reports for submission to corporate management. Recommended several improvements to processes that increased

efficiency and were implemented department-wide. Received an

excellent evaluation upon completion of program.


Maury’s Market, Caldwell, Idaho Seasonally 2001 to 2007

CHECKER/ASSISTANT MANAGER – Worked part-time/seasonally during high school and college at this local supermarket. Performed a wide range of customer service and department management

functions. Supported and filled in for the managers of the Dairy

and Frozen Foods Departments. Received and inspected deliveries, refusing spoiled or incomplete orders. Trained and oriented new employees. Regularly resolved customer problems. Consistently invited back each season due to quality and reliability.

naming CluSterS

How you name a cluster will determine how an employer views you. Below, the candidate called the cluster Sales/Customer Experience. She never held a formal sales position before, but many of the salespeople she has worked with think she would be great if provided the opportunity. She had consistently demonstrated the skills and determination of successful salespeople. By calling the section Sales/Customer Service Experience, she introduced herself to the employer as sales material. Her objective stated, “Sales Opportunity” and her Qualifications statement emphasized the qualities she has that are sought after by sales managers. Her cover letter stated how much she enjoyed the sales process and working with customers. Choose your own cluster names carefully.


Rettig Corp., Portland, Oregon 2002 to Present

CUSTOMER SERVICE LEAD – Perform a wide range of service, sales, and administrative functions for this national electronics company. Respond to and resolve escalated customer concerns. Listen intently to customers to clearly identify issues and develop solutions. Perform extensive research and consistently respond in a timely and satisfactory manner. Have established a reputation for exceptional

service resulting in regularly being requested by customers to resolve their issues,

renew contracts, or purchase additional items.

Rodding Industries, Beaverton, Oregon 2000 to 2002

SALES ADMINISTRATOR – Supported a team of four Key Account Managers in servicing major corporate customers of this electronics distributor. Key accounts included Boeing, Weyerhaeuser, and Genie Industries. Reviewed all documents for accuracy prior to processing. Worked closely with customer purchasing teams to immediately resolve problems and assure satisfaction. Filled in for Account Managers during their vacations and other absences and assisted customers. Developed solid relations with customers, resulting in numerous letters of commendation for providing timely and comprehensive service.

Since clusters are similar to categories used in functional resumes, refer to page 128 for additional ideas.

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