If your career makeover strategy is to change jobs then updating your resume may just require a simple tweak to include your most recent tasks or projects at work. But if your strategy is to move into a new career, there are a few additional things you’ll want to focus on to give your resume a makeover.
Here are 10 tips from guest Mark Lawson for giving your resume a makeover:
1. Target your resume.
The days of sending one generic resume to every job you apply for are over. Study the job posting and figure out which of the company’s specific needs you can fill based on your skills and qualifications. When writing your resume, highlight these things first. Keep this in mind and send a different resume to every single opening. It takes a little more time but it’s worth it.
2. Achievements, not duties.
Employers want to see that you can get results. Telling them you are qualified is simply not good enough. Anybody can tell you something. How many people can show you? When listing details of your past or current positions, list quantifiable accomplishments instead of general duties. For example, “led five-member regional sales team to increase annual sales by 15%” sounds a lot better than “regional sales manager” and is more likely to score you the interview.
3. Look at sample resumes online: Resumes differ by field and knowing what a given profession’s typical resume is supposed to look like is vital. This is especially important when changing careers. The web can be a great resource for sample resumes. Sites like resumeindex.com have many examples of professional resumes for reference.
4. Determine the resume format.
There are two major resume formats: chronological and functional. A chronological resume stresses the importance of experience in a given field. If you’re changing careers, a functional resume is the way to go. With this resume format, you will put the emphasis on transferable job skills and you’ll highlight accomplishments that can carry over from one field to another. A functional resume tells the employer that while you may not have specific experience in this field, you do have knowledge and achievements that will still apply.
5. Get a proofreader.
You have written and rewritten your resume many times now. Since you know what it’s supposed to say, you’re likely to miss errors. Find a friend or a colleague and have them look over your work. Not only can they find spelling and grammatical errors, they can also offer constructive criticism of your content.
6. Talk to someone who is already in that career.
Changing careers can be tough. If you can network with someone who is already in your new profession, you can get an idea of what hiring managers are looking for and write your resume accordingly. Another benefit f networking is that you might hear about openings before they are posted in the usual places.
7. Examine your email address.
You are trying to come across as a professional. Does your email address reflect that? If you tell employers to contact you at firstname.lastname@example.org, they probably won’t. There are many free email services online where you can get a free email address that’s not embarrassing.
8. Understand the point of your resume.
The idea of a resume is not to tell your life story and enumerate every position and duty. It is a selling tool that you will use to sell the best, most professional version of you to the employer. As such, don’t dwell on every single fact and figure. Hit on the salient points that apply to their needs and what you can do to fill them and then wrap it up.
9. Contact your references.
Whether you list references or not, you can be sure that you’ll be asked for them eventually. The best approach is to ready your former colleagues and friends for that call ahead of time. Not only is this a professional courtesy, it also reminds them of your history together and gets them thinking and preparing for the eventual reference call. A prepared reference is much more likely to put in a good word than one who is caught off guard.
10. Your mission statement.
Does your resume have a goal or “career objective” section? Many resume seekers put this section there and then describe a far-flung goal or long-term objective that has nothing to do with the job at hand. This leads the employer to ask, “well why do you want to work HERE then?” If you choose to include an objective, be sure it’s related to at least something that can be tied to this job opening. This is especially true for career changers, who can take advantage of this section to explain the desire for a new profession.
[box type="tick" size="large" style="rounded"]Looking for resume examples for the career you want to transition to? Explore the samples at resumeindex.com.[/box]