Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Advice on Resumes from Mary Elizabeth Bradford

Prepare Your Resume for a Brand New Industry - Here's How

By Mary Elizabeth Bradford

Making the decision to move into a new industry is an exciting career step. However, your confidence can be shaken when it comes time to figure out how to re-design your resume in a way that garners interest from a new industry.

So, here are five easy tips to take the overwhelm out of changing up your resume for a new market:

Tip #1: Research your industry
First, you need to do a little industry preparation and here is how: using an online job aggregator like indeed.com, find a couple jobs that match what you are looking for.

Print out the job descriptions you found, take a highlighter and note all the key words and phrases that match your skills and abilities. Be generous in highlighting each and every word and phrase that matches!

Now you have your basic key words you know match the position and industry you are interested in.

Tip #2: Showcase your keywords
A potential employer makes a critical first impression of you via your resume and from it, they will ultimately decide if they want to know more.

To ensure the best outcome, showcase your matching keywords - preferably at the beginning of the first page of your resume. This can include your qualifications summary and as stand alone keywords under a "core competencies" section.

Tip #3: Minimize non applicable information
A common resume mistake, whether changing industries or not, is including too much detailed information.

If a function or title does not compliment your new industry or position of choice, there are a few things you can do: omit it, condense it and/or blend it under a more applicable function.

Misrepresenting yourself is never an option. Remember that your resume is a marketing piece and not a legal document. If you are unsure about what you can or should omit in your resume, consider consulting a professional (certified) resume writer who can help you.

Tip #4: Choose the right layout
When changing industries, functional resumes generally work better than chronological resumes. The reason is that they enable you to highlight your transferable skills first, which also takes the emphasis off the fact that you have not been in the industry of your choice.

Tip #5: Carry your message throughout
As you detail your accomplishments under your professional history, you want to place the emphasis on those functions and responsibilities that most closely match your new industry.

Here is a tip to draw out accomplishments that you want your reader to focus on: let's say, for example, you wish to demonstrate your team-building skills. Take a blank piece of paper and begin to list all of the teambuilding activities you have led or participated in.

Now, brainstorm on 10 to 20 achievements derived as a result of your team-building efforts.

Be careful not to edit yourself during this important process! These free-form exercises are best done when you feel most creative. As an example, for me that time is in the morning before I have gotten into the activities of the day.

Successfully changing industries is something professionals do every day. Make sure your resume is giving you maximum market leverage so you don't find yourself mistakenly thinking that you can't change industries because you don't have exact-matching qualifications!

A qualified resume writer and/or job search coach can work wonders here, but if you choose to go solo, incorporating these 5 easy tips into your resume can quickly position you to land the job in the industry you really want!

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