With so many people re-entering the job force or looking to move to higher paying positions, I thought it helpful to share my experience with my husband’s friend, Mitch. I was helping Mitch revamp his resume as he was hoping to apply for a new position with his current employer. Because they love to hire internally, he really wanted to showcase his skills in regards to what he had been doing for the past 8 years at the company. Unfortunately, his resume read like a child’s book report on the Life and Times of Mitch H. It was unfocused and did not relay the “I’m the right guy for the job” message that was intended.
When consulting on small-business branding, I often ask business owners if they are willing to do some Spring Cleaning. Are they willing to rid themselves of the things that do nothing to promote them in a positive and efficient manner? With Mitch, it was time for a resume overhaul.
Step 1: FOCUS
If you cannot verbalize what it is that you are trying to accomplish, then you cannot create a resume that will. It is so important that you narrow in on what it is that you want your resume to say. In Mitch’s case he is currently a Customer Service Representative but wants to become an Account Manager. The FOCUS of his resume should be on how his skills as a Customer Service Rep can translate to a position as an Account Manager. To this end, his best bet would be to use a skills based resume as opposed to a chronological one.
Step 2: Analyze and Compare
This is probably the toughest part of Spring Cleaning one’s resume. It requires research and time. You have to know what the position that you are applying for entails. What exactly do you have to do and what skills do you need? The easiest way to find this information is from the job description. Most will tell you what skills each applicant should possess in order to be considered for the job. However, if you do not have this, information, go online and search using the following phase “job description: [INSERT POSITION].” You will find numerous search results, but try to stay within the first page for the most accurate. Divide a sheet of paper into two columns and list the skills needed for the position to which you are applying. On the other side list the skills that you possess/gained in your current position and in other positions that you have held in the past.
Step 3: Organize
Once you have your list, start grouping. Some skills naturally go together and should be combined. For example, troubleshooting and problem solving should be grouped together under “conflict resolution.” Grouping skills allows your resume to utilize specific keywords and target phrasing. This makes your resume scannable by human eyes and computer programs.
Step 4: Writing a Skills Resume
Rewriting your resume so that it is skills based is not difficult. Just remember that it should combine your skills from a variety of positions or fields that you have held while showing what you have LEARNED in those positions. The skills resume takes the attention off of the fact that you did not hold a comparable position. It also highlights your achievements and can serve to FOCUS your resume to promote your ability to handle the job in questions.
For a really good sample of a skills resume, go here: http://www.career.vt.edu/jobsearc/resumes/formats.htm*This post originally appeared on the now Defunct BrightFuse.com Blog