Figuring out what you want is a very difficult thing to do, at any stage of life. But once you’ve figured out what you want, you need to have a resume that is ready to get you what you want.
Rewriting your resume is what you do at the very end of the process of figuring out the best job for yourself. Once you know the answer to that question, it should be no problem to rewrite your resume to get that job.
Provided here are the techniques and tips to do so.
1. It doesn’t matter if you are good at your job if you don’t know how to translate that to a resume.
I can say I was a clerk at a grocery store.
Or I can say I took responsibility for end-caps and increase targeted product sales by 15%.
In both cases the bullet describes a low-level job at a grocery store. The first bullet is written by someone who thought their job was stupid. The second bullet is written by someone who is a self-starter, who understands the big-picture of how grocery store goals are met, and who knows how to talk like they are in the business of groceries instead of a slave to groceries.
Both bullets are true, but one is more likely to get someone a job in management. Thinking and writing about the goals of the job you want is a really important skill to learn. Most coaching calls I do are with people who can talk like the second bullet but have written resumes that sound like the first bullet.
2. You don’t need to have had good jobs in order to have a good resume. When I was younger I was in charge of online marketing for a software company. I could tell you that I managed the web site. But that won’t make you think I’m a rock star. I could also say I managed three online product launches. But that’s so broad that it tells you nothing.
This is a bullet that will get me my next job: Managed an online product launch with ad agencies in seven countries and delivered marketing materials under budget and ahead of schedule.
Here’s the simple truth: The product was really small. The ad agencies were one-person shops and they didn’t speak English so I could barely manage them. And the reason everything went so fast and cheap is because we realized the company was going to be sold so we decided we could skimp on the launch.
See how you can write a good bullet and a bad bullet and both can be true? What’s more, you can write a good bullet about a failed project and you can write a bad bullet about a great project. But what you can’t do is just wing it.
Winging it will leave you underselling yourself. And you end up writing yourself into a corner where it’s impossible to tell a coherent story about why you have made the choices you’ve made in your career and where you are headed.
3. The best career changes are when your resume doesn’t show you’re making a career change. People don’t want to hire you to do something you’ve never done before. That’s too much trouble. Employers are looking for someone who can hit the ground running, knock the ball out of the park, and all the other idioms that describe the process of trying to hire someone who is really excited about doing the job even though they’ve already been doing it for the past five years.
The reason changing careers is so common is because it’s not fun to be so great at something that your learning curve flattens. A steep learning curve is fun, but knowing all the bad things about the industry you’re in is not fun.
You can’t change spouses all the time, so change jobs instead. But do it in a way that doesn’t put a huge dent in your finances; rewrite your resume to show you have already been doing that career change.
Difficult, yes, but the trick is really to figure out what career is already open to you, based on the experience you have. Which career change can look like a natural progression rather than jumping ship completely?
To do this you need to read between the lines of your resume to remember what’s missing. What did you leave out that you might put in now? What morsels add up to a whole new story? We all have a second, third, or fourth career story in our history.