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« Career change cover letter template | Main | Military Employment Transition in the News - May 18 »
Tuesday
May222012

What is a Resume and How to Write One

What is An Effective Resume?

First of all, let’s be clear about what’s not. The most common—and worst!— type we see from clients is a boring list of “the things I did.” This is a resume-to-nowhere except frustration, disappointment and failure.

Better, but still not good enough, is the resume that says: “Here are the things I did in my last job (or jobs), and here are the results these things achieved.” OK, we’re moving in the right direction, but we’re not there yet.

Why? Because list of results all by itself doesn’t mean much in isolation. This type or resume lacks context; it doesn’t explain why the accomplished mattered. It doesn’t answer the all-important “So What” question.

A Career Change Resume Is Different

A career change resume has to do all of that and more. All good resumes showcase meaningful results by saying: “Here are the things I did. Here are the results we achieved, and this is why those results mattered.” Furthermore, a career change resume... 

  • makes the case that your ability to achieve meaningful results: in other words, your value as a employee
  • is transferable to a new, perhaps an entirely new, situation. This transferability spin must be applied strategically to every aspect of your resume. Here’s how.

Identify Your Transferable Skills

Career expert and author, Richard Nelson Bolles – suggests there are three broad groups you can slot your skills into:

  • People – related to managing, communicating, training and teaching, coaching, informing 
  • Data – everything related to researching, record keeping, compiling, translating, storing data 
  • Things – ability to operate machinery, computers, equipment, tools, assembling and disassembling, repairing, recycling

Think about these categories. Chances are your previous work included some mixture of all of them, but for the job you’re applying for now, which do want to emphasize. You can highlight your most desirable skills under your qualifications profile. Follow this with short bulleted descriptions of your key strengths and competencies.

Again, make it easy for the person on the other side of the table to see exactly how you fit in and the value you bring.

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