by Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC
A new year could mean a new job for you! Many people focus on New Year’s Resolutions, but their resolve to change often lasts just a few weeks. Take that energy and focus it where it is most likely to have some staying power – in securing your new job!
The New Year is often a time of optimism, and the potential for growth can fuel your job search to new heights as well. Shifting the focus of your resume can make a more powerful impact on hiring managers. A positive new attitude can help open doors to a new job. Try the following few simple steps:
1) Focus on Accomplishments.
A strong resume highlights accomplishments. It can be easy to forget achievements if you have not included them in past resumes or kept a separate file. Build your confidence by brainstorming positive results you achieved in past positions.
Give yourself time for this activity and think about what you can measure. For example, what did you produce for your last employer? Not every industry will have sales numbers, but perhaps you managed the United Way Campaign more successfully than prior leaders. How many junior associates did you coach toward promotion?
You may need to “think outside the box” to identify tangible results of your skills and talents. Once you have your list, add those accomplishments to your resume. Now tell potential employers how your skills will transfer to their environment and benefit the bottom line!
2) Target your Industry.
The target for your job search may be different from what you have done in the past. As a result, you may have a broad range of skills or diverse professional background. This can be strength or a detriment, depending on how you present yourself. Research basic skills expected for a candidate in the position in which you are interested. Then expand to the next level by identifying qualities that define an outstanding professional in your target field. Next begin matching your work history with the basic and expanded skills in the new industry.
Look for common skills in your background that will be an asset in the industry where you are currently targeting your efforts. Broad experience may help if you are working with a diverse clientele, such as in sales or healthcare. Re-frame your wide-ranging experience as strengths rather than a lack of focus or inconsistency in job history. Finding that common thread will provide insight into your values, and believe it or not, employers are definitely interested in candidates who share their values in support of the corporate mission.
Keywords are critical in any job search today; not only for capturing the attention of hiring managers, but also in rising to the top of electronic searches. Translate your skills into just a few buzz words that are likely to get attention. Use powerful language in your resume by selecting descriptors that capture your strengths!
Research companies of interest to you. Most corporate websites will include a mission statement, and perhaps a description of their community involvement. Not only can you mirror the language of the vision statement in your own resume and cover letter, but you may also discover opportunities to network informally with staffers and executives involved in community campaigns.
4) Practice your Attitude.
Job searches are challenging and can wear down the most positive of attitudes. Change is difficult, but don’t let it get you down. Pessimism never landed anyone a job!
Enlist family or friends to practice your elevator speech and interview skills. The more you repeat these brief descriptions of your strongest skills and values, the more comfortable you will be in an interview or networking situation. Don’t just save it for the interview. You never know who you may bump into in the corporate lobby or on the way to HR. Everyone in the corporate environment is a potential advocate for you in the hiring game!
Project enthusiasm into your networking and resume. A fresh year coupled with fresh perspective may give you just the boost you need to energize your search and re-organize your resume. Use your research skills to match your experience with the companies in which you are interested. Re-package your skills, rev up your job search, and then get ready to listen for opportunity’s knock!