Over the last several years, we have seen a dramatic shift in the concept of a “career” as more and more people have been downsized, right sized, outsourced, and the like. A career isn’t just vertical anymore; it’s how horizontal and in many cases, very much a zigzag.
What do you do if you’re a former real estate agent or broker, automaker in Detroit, a mortgage broker, a banker, someone in manufacturing, etc.? Most of these roles have a greatly decreased volume of jobs these days (although autoworker jobs are picking up in Detroit once again).
As many know, in the 21st Century economy, it will not be uncommon for people to change jobs 10+ times during their “career” and to even change careers 3+ times. How, you might ask, is that possible? The ever changing economy constantly demands new skills, new flexibility , and an application of best practices. In most organizations, gone are the days of a 30 year career at one or two or maybe three organizations, and a gold watch at the end (except in non-political government roles, where the norm is still a long, generally stable, horizontal career; but, that too may be changing as many states and municipalities struggle with vast revenue shortages and huge budget deficits).
So, given this new reality, what does one do about one’s resume? How do you go about showcasing that you’re an ideal candidate for a position when it may not be apparent?
Here are some tips:
- Write a compelling and strong Summary Statement. Highlight your skills. Most jobs require a foundational set of skills that don’t change from job to job: customer service, sales, attention to detail, computer skills, teamwork, team building, project management, etc. This Summary must be highly compelling to the reader or they won’t read any further.
- Be sure to accentuate your accomplishments rather than you job duties. These two concepts are easily interwoven and employers care about results; not about reading a “tombstone” that just recites job duties. Your accomplishments show your motivation to get things done no matter the circumstances and are a nice (and even more important in most cases) complement to your skills. Many people have the skills. How many people can show that they’ve successfully used them? This makes you stand out.
- Don’t throw in every potential skill and experience that you have had. It may be tempting to do on the often used, and mistaken assumption that the reader will “figure out the connections”. Not so. It’s not the reader’s job. It’s your job. Rather show the most salient skills and experience and how they easily transfer from one role to the next; the context may be different, but the skill is the same.
Changing career is a challenge even for the most skilled and accomplished people. However, by using the suggestions above to write a resume around the target job’s requirements and to show your value with accomplishments and with skills, you have a good chance of landing an interview.
Michael Trust, MPA, SPHR-CA, is a Certified Career Coach and a Certified Executive Career Coach, who helps people find their passion and fulfill their dreams as they relate to careers through his organization, Trustworthy Coaching®, www.TrustworthyCoaching.com. Mr. Trust’s Coaching, Business, and Human Resources experience spans twenty years, and he has had major roles in staffing in all of his Human Resource positions. In addition, he has coached individuals at all career levels relative to their career paths, job search strategies, business strategies, and related areas. Mr. Trust is also a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF).
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