You’re ready to take the next step in your life journey and seek a higher position or better one that matches your career goals and dreams. Your first move is to create an amazing resume that highlights your skills and training.
It sounds simple. Just tell people what you have to offer, and employers will call you for interviews. The truth is often murkier, and you’ll need to tweak your resume to stand out from all the other candidates and to best match what each employer is seeking.
Should You Put Career Goals on a Resume?
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of job openings fell to 11.4 million at the end of April, with hires and separations remaining stagnant. Even if your industry has high demand, you may face stiff competition for higher paying and more desirable positions.
Employers may not care about what you want from your career when they first glance at your resume. Instead, they want to know what you can do for them. What do you bring to the table as an employee?
Your career goals will naturally shine through in the skills and training you list. If you want to work in management, you might include that you’re currently in school for leadership training, for example. This shows the employer what you have to offer without coming right out and saying, “I want your top management position.”
1. Share the Basics
It might be tempting to add a bunch of specialized knowledge or clubs you belong to that make you look good as a potential employee. However, don’t overlook the basics to share such details. You can always work them into an interview.
Instead, focus on sharing your skills the employer specifically lists in their job description. You should also showcase your education and training so they know you aren’t inexperienced. Not having to spend months training someone new is quite desirable for most employers.
2. Know What the Employer Wants
Knowing how to read a job description and decipher what the employer wants and the skills they need is important. For example, when they ask for examples of leading change, what do they mean and what types of information should you provide?
You can learn a lot by reading through the news section of a company’s website and reviews on sites such as Glassdoor.com. See what former employees say about them and piece together how best to approach your resume. What skills does the brand value most?
3. Lose the Objective Statement
Your objective may be to land the position and grow your career, but that is almost a given for most self-driven employees. Modern resumes often ditch the objective statement and get right into the skills and talents of the employee instead.
Instead of the “seeking position as” type statement, go for a career objective statement. The language should be more concise and focus on the top value you bring to any employer.
4. Stay Current
Don’t try to share every bit of history throughout your life on your resume. Hone in on only those things most pertinent to your goals. For example, if you have a bachelor’s degree in English but your master’s is in Finance, you’d focus on the master’s for a finance position.
You might share that you created a new program to help them track inventory and sales at your last job. Think about the things that bring you closer to the position you want in the future and share those things on your resume.
5. Keep It Concise
In an eye-tracking study of hiring managers, researchers found the average recruiter spent a mere 7.4 seconds skimming over a resume. They only dig deeper if the document hits all their requirements.
Choose your words carefully for maximum impact. You should also focus on the aesthetics of your document, making it easy to skim over for busy managers. Keep in mind that many interviews come from referrals, so if you have any type of inside connection, tap into it to try to land a face-to-face meeting.
If you can meet in person, you’ll have a much better chance of sharing what your skills are and why you think you’re a good match for the job opening.
6. Update Frequently
You might be tempted to pull out your past resume and send it off. After all, you spent tons of time ensuring it was perfect. However, your career goals will change as you grow and learn more. It’s a good idea to update your resume constantly so you’re prepared when the dream position opens or you find yourself in the middle of an unexpected layoff.
Replace old, lesser skills with new ones. Keep your education listed, even if it’s just a new certification here and there. Think about what employers want to know most about you and ensure your resume is updated and reflects who you are as an employee at this moment.
Tell a Story
Your resume is a story of your work past, present and future. Make sure you show clearly where you’ve been, what you’ve learned and where you’re headed. Don’t be afraid to include info on an incomplete education. Just list the expected graduation or completion date.
You have just a few seconds to make an impression on a hiring manager. Utilize every opportunity to grab attention and show them why you’re worthy of an interview.
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