Resume Overhaul: Does Your Experience Stand Out or Fall Flat?

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Have you done a resume overhaul recently? As we move forward in our careers, we make a habit of tailoring our resumes for each job application by rearranging bullet points or rephrasing job tasks. We focus on grammar and prioritizing skill set keywords to match a particular position description. While those are important tasks to undertake, consider how long it has been since you made a complete resume overhaul. Are you a different professional now? Are you using a resume that showcases entry-level duties for mid-level opportunities? Consider overhauling your resume to match your professional growth. Here are a couple of techniques to keep your resume evolving:

Skill Sets: Doer vs. Achiever

Most resume drafts begin as an extensive list of job tasks organized chronologically with various work experiences. Then, we evolve this list from job task focus to skill set focus. However, once the resume reaches this stage our professional summaries and skill profiles begin to define our brand. We focus on the job at hand and resume evolution ceases.

Take a look at your skill sets, projects and experiences. Do they reflect a Doer who is focused on tasks at hand or do they reflect Achievements? On the surface, neither of these is bad, however, when put in the context of the role or position you hope to hold, they become vital.

The Doer’s focus on tasks such as program creation, process development and budget management fit well with some entry-level roles. The Achiever’s focus on managing many of those tasks to reach larger goals are important to an employer seeking a mid-level manager or higher. This might look like, “Established $30 million dollar federally funded grant program,” or “Lead multi-level application development team in rebranding strategy.” Step back and see the bigger picture by grouping several related tasks into themes equaling achievements important to the next step in your career.

Evolving Past Experiences into Skill Sets

Each new role adds to your employment body of work. The list of past work experiences grows as do the skills obtained in each of those roles. Do those past experiences become obsolete?

The answer… they never do. How you showcase that experience is what is important. Consider reframing past experience as a set of skills that are part of your professional profile rather than a certification obtained at work. You can even showcase these skills which provide insight into your status as an accomplished Achiever.

If you have a role on your resume from five or six years ago, consider evolving it into a set of skills. Remove the focus from the task-oriented portion of a particular job to a skill or set of skills making up the professional you are today. More often than not, an employer does not care where you gained a skill, they are more concerned that you can use it as an asset with them.

Don’t let your experiences fall flat by seeming stale or irrelevant. Continue to evolve your brand, your resume and your skills to ensure they stand out as achievements contributing to bigger goals, not merely completing day-to-day tasks.

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