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How To Write A Resume That Will Land Your Dream Job

How To Write A Resume That Will Land Your Dream Job

Just a few years ago, I was at that pivotal point when crafting the perfect resume was the only thing standing between me and professional success. Maybe that’s a little dramatic, but these days, you just can’t take the clout of your resume for granted, especially if you want a job that is highly sought-after.

Now I’m at an odd stage where I am actually the person looking through resumes and trying to hire people. And let me tell you, It is rough. Here is my guide for drafting your ideal resume, no matter what your professional situation is. My hope is that my past and present experiences will give you an insight into what employers are really looking for and how you can stand apart.

Layout

The first step is to decide on how you want everything laid out. You don’t want to go crazy with the design of the resume just yet, since it’s far easier to polish the look once everything is complete.

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The first thing you’ll need is an objective statement, which should be one sentence that acknowledges your intent to obtain the job and work for that company. People go back and forth on whether or not this is necessary, but I always recommend it, if done well. Its actual purpose is to tell the hiring manager that you are actually looking for a job in the profession that is relevant to what you’re applying for. Yes, you can do this in the cover letter, but covering your bases doesn’t hurt, and some people are more traditional and expect the objective statement.

Education

At this point, decide on what flow you want to use for the resume. In almost all cases, list your education first. This is crucial if you are a recent graduate, since it showcases your worth as an investment. If you’re still in school, write your expected graduation date and be specific about your major, minor and any specializations. If you have room to spare, consider listing some relevant courses that will display what you really learned.

Also, and this is a big one, put your GPA on the resume unless it is under 3.0. In some cases, you might be told to leave it out if it is under 3.5 or even 4.0. The trick is to discern how much value a particular hiring manager will see in your GPA.

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Experience

Next, I advise that you list memberships and school affiliations later on, so you don’t crowd education and can get to what reinforces your education: work experience. For some, you may have too many jobs in your background and will have to leave some out. My go-to approach has been to include only the jobs and internships that relate directly to my current profession. That way, you can still bring up other jobs in the interview.

For example, the interviewer may mention that the job you’re applying for has an element of customer service. You can respond by saying, “Actually, I worked in an outlet store during college and learned a lot about customer service. I just didn’t have room for it on the resume.” As long as you are tactful about presenting yourself professionally and honestly, the interviewer will no doubt be impressed by your work history.

Next, I’m going to give you what is probably the most important tip there is to writing your resume, and it involves how you describe your past jobs. Underneath your job title and company name, you probably know that it is essential to record what you actually did for that job. Ninety percent of people write this part of their resume in a list format, highlighting the things that they did. Be like the rare 10 percent and write what you accomplished.

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The difference between a task-based resume and an accomplishment-based resume should be obvious. When an employer is looking at two resumes side-by-side (trust me, we do that), he is far more likely to be persuaded by work experience that shows that you provide a return on investment.

If you craft your resume to simply show that you “managed teams” and “coordinated strategies,” then an employer will likely gloss over it. If you focus on the results, however, by showing that you “implemented strategies that increased revenue” and “organized an event that doubled last year’s attendance,” then the employer has confidence that you provide value to the position you are striving for.

Skills

Finally, it’s time to list your professional skills and affiliations. Remember to focus on skills that tie into the job you’re looking for and bolster what you’ve already listed in your work experience. They should flow pretty naturally from what you can really do. Make sure you don’t promise anything you can’t deliver on!

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If you happen to have references or even a portfolio, you should absolutely include the traditional “References and portfolio available upon request,” which makes a great end to a consistent resume.

Edit

Now that you’ve completed the layout and flow of the resume, go back and edit the thing to pieces. I strongly advise that you keep the resume to one page, no matter how difficult it might be (only in rare situations is this not necessary). Contact information should go at the top close to your name and should include a phone number, email, personal website/LinkedIn and the city/state where you live (especially if this is a local job).

The easiest way to make a resume look good is to choose the right font. Just make sure that it is not a display font like Papyrus or Comic Sans. Be more original and check out great font websites like LostType. Last, but definitely not least, ask for a second opinion. Put your resume in front of a professional or mentor who will give you constructive feedback. I hope this guide helps, and be sure to sound off your own tips or experience in the comments for other readers!

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Jon Negroni

An author and blogger who shares about lifestyle advice

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Last Updated on July 18, 2019

How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

Most people grow up with dreams to go to college and graduate with high-paying job offers waiting for them the week after graduation. Others may favor non-traditional career paths. But the desire is the same: to find a job we love where compensation is commensurate with experience.

However, plans change. For instance, what started out as a dream to be a surgeon is cut short by a nasty injury and you’re debating how to transition into a new role. Or you might be facing being let go from your current employer and are anxious about “options out there.”

Whatever the case may be, switching careers can be intentional or unintentional. What matters is that you’re well-prepared, and the only way to do so is to learn new skills — hone in on your transferable skills.

Why Hone in on Your Transferable Skills?

There are several reasons you need to develop these skills if you want to go far in life and your career. In a nutshell, honing in your your transferable skills can lead to:

Better Job Offers

Continuous assessment and improvement of your skills widens the pool of job offers for you to make selections from. You’re no longer tethered to one industry as you’re able to lead your career by design, not by default.

People with transferable skills on a resume also open up opportunities for more potential employers.

Increase in Pay and More Responsibilities

You’ve heard the saying “with great power come great responsibility.” In your case, transferable skills make you more marketable to employers which could lead to pay raises.

Although this isn’t an automatic process– you have to be proactive about what you want in the marketplace, there is a chance that these pay raises will come with change in titles and roles.

A Shot at Entrepreneurship

Yes, changing career paths also includes the possibility of working for yourself. With these skills and work experience, you could live anywhere in the world and design a life and career you want.

We’ve talked about why you need to strengthen your transferable skills but what are some these skills, and how can you work on them?

13 Tips to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills

1. Update Your Resume

You might be surprised to know this but yes, updating your resume is a skill. The very first thing you should do while thinking about switching careers is to highlight attributes that make you very desirable candidate to employers.

Think about your volunteer experiences, freelance projects, and school projects. Although they might seem insignificant, they demonstrate your ability to deliver results that several companies are looking for.

While you might have held several positions since college, switching careers will require you to have a different type of resume.

There are three different types of resumes: functional, chronological, and a combination resume. However, if you are looking to switch careers you’ll want to have a functional resume. A functional resume is strengths-based that emphasizes skills that are transferable rather than a collection of dates and job titles.

2. Brush up on Your Communication Skills

Every attempt to get ahead in business and in life starts with the need to communicate effectively. Whether it is interpersonal, intercultural, or multi-generational, the ability to be seen and heard while respecting the boundaries of work relationship matters.

That’s why it’s one of the top skills you need to master. Strong communication skills allows you to effectively tailor your messages to specific audiences, which will make you a stronger asset to any organization.

To hone this skill:

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Pay attention to your listening skills. To communicate effectively, you need to first learn how to understand others.

Your ability to decode overt and implied messages, no matter how nuanced they are, is key to knowing how to foster deep relationships with others.

This article can also give you effective ways to enhance your communication skills:

How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

3. Learn Technical (or Business) Writing

Another form of communication, writing, is a skill that can take you anywhere.

Companies communicate a lot through written memos, emails, newsletters, and other audio-visual means. But at the crux of this all is someone or some people who are tasked with translating the organization’s vision into statements anyone can understand.

To hone this skill:

Consider taking some free or paid classes online. You can accomplish this through several community colleges or online platforms like Lynda, Udemy or edX .

4. Practice Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

No matter how intelligent you are, no one will take you seriously if you’re unable to pull off a decent level of persuasion through presentation skills.

Most presentation can be done through either electronic devices or require your physical presence. Your chosen career may require you to be in front of several hundreds of people or you could be charged with developing materials for presentation.

To hone this skill:

Volunteer to lead projects that give you some responsibility for putting together presentations.

Also, try taking courses that will improve your public speaking skills if you feel lacking.

These tips on public speaking would be helpful too:

The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

5. Get Comfortable with Identifying Problems and Solutions

Every organization has got its problems no matter how greener the grass is on the other side.

How to hone this skill:

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Practice being resourceful.

Do you know where to find every company policy on the intranet in less than five minutes?

Think about a time you noticed some inefficiency at work and proposed a solution. Think about instances where you lent your voice to a cause which resulted in improved processes for your department.

No matter how small or inadequate you might feel, you’ve got some problem-solving skills that some organizations want.

If you look for more ways to improve your problem solving skills, take a look at this article:

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

6. Recognize Your Team-Building Ability

Your ability to smoothly switch careers also depends on how well you can energize your team, especially if you’re aiming for a leadership role. Unfortunately, team-building usually isn’t something you learn on the job in most careers unless you hold a managerial position.

The good thing is that you possibly know one or two things about team-building. Think back to moments in college when you had group projects with colleagues and had to work with 3 to 4 other strangers for months. Were you able to get past your differences and disagreements to focus on the uniqueness of everyone at the table?

Making a career switch might require that you work with multidisciplinary teams whether you have a deep knowledge of what the other team does or not. I can easily think of doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and social workers working closely to achieve the goals in a patient’s care plan.

How to hone this skill:

Look for collaborative projects and team building activities that excite you and challenge yourself with new possibilities.

Try some of these tactics to keep your team motivated as well:

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

7. Lean into Your Leadership Skills

Although similar to the previous point, leadership skills extend far beyond building teams, managing time sheets and correcting behavior.

What I’m referring to here is your ability to develop a vision, believe in it, and inspire buy-in from everyone involved. This isn’t about knowing how to run a particular machine; it’s about how to lead a team of people with various backgrounds, experiences, and ideas of how things should be done.

How to hone this skill:

Although more complex than the rest, it all starts with an introspective look into your strengths and weaknesses. Then get a mentor or a coach who can bring out your leadership qualities so you can operate from a place of strength.

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Learn more about the effective leadership types here:

5 Types of Leadership that Help You Build a High Performance Team

8. Improve Your Analytical Skills

Are you good at taking large amount of data and interpreting them? Your skills could come in handy.

Organizations are looking for people to make sense of the data around them, explain how it affects profitability, and make projections based on it. Best of all? You don’t need to be an accountant to be analytical.

How to hone this skill:

Try taking data interpretation classes online or at a community college. Learning Microsoft Excel or Access is also a plus. If you’re ambitious enough, you could consider getting additional certifications to up the ante.

Take a look at these ways to help sharpen your analytical skills:

What Are Analytical Skills and How to Strengthen Them For Success

9. Don’t Discount Your Time Management and Prioritization Skills

How good are you when it comes to deciding how important tasks are, organizing schedules, and coordinating plans?

Should you be willing, there is a market waiting for you out there. Organizations and busy executives are always looking for talented individuals to outsource these tasks to.

How to hone this skill:

Although not everyone possesses secretarial superpowers, you can improve this skill by focusing on taking huge tasks and breaking them into smaller goals or steps in order to achieve a bigger goal.

Here, you can learn to prioritize to achieve more:

The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

10. Embrace Your Creative and Critical Thinking Side

Although it’s often believed that creativity is for the arts and right-brained people, I believe everyone is capable of being creative. In fact, most organizations recognize creativity as a vehicle that will drive successful inventions in the future.

How to hone this skill:

Try doing something fun. As simple as this sounds, you’d be surprised to learn how much. In fact, behavioral and learning scientist, Marily Oppezzo, says taking a walk might be all you need to get your creative juices flowing.[1]

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Anyone can be creative, you just need the right way to train your brain:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

11. Don’t Stop Learning Tech Knowledge and Skills

Being tech-savvy is a huge plus. If you have an affinity with computers, software applications and are abreast of technological improvements, it is a transferable skill that is worth highlighting.

You don’t have to be a young college graduate with silicon valley dreams to work

How to hone this skill:

All you need is the determination and the readiness to learn. This article will give you some ideas on the types of skills to learn:

How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

12. Build Networks and Relationships

You aren’t free from networking. Not at the moment. With your goal to switch to a different career, your networking skills will come in handy.

Fortunately for you, networking doesn’t have to be so hard.

How to hone this skill:

Attend conferences and job fairs. Chances are you already have people in your network you can move you closer to your dream career.

To enhance your networking skills, take these steps:

How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life

Final Thoughts

Although there are several people with the same qualification and degree(s) you possess, what ultimately determines hireability comes down to a myriad of things such as culture fit, how teachable you are, cultural sensitivity, inter-generational awareness, and your ability to navigate uncertainty.

You have a chance to stand out by letting your dream companies know how these soft skills make you an invaluable asset, and how saying ‘YES’ to you is a win-win for both parties.

Happy career switching!

More Resources About Career Advancement

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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