Thursday, May 20, 2010

Resumes: Position Yourself for your Dream Job

I was helping a friend’s son with his resume this week, and it reminded me that resumes are not only a record of our past experience. We are also positioning ourselves for the dream job that we hope to obtain in the future. And, in order to be successful, we have to keep that dream job front and centre in our minds as we write our resume.

Research is always the first step. If my dream job is to be a chef in a three-star Michelin restaurant, my resume should highlight my experience in high-end restaurants. Or if I really want to work for a company that writes open source software, I should highlight my experience with open source.

We may not have all the qualifications our dream employer is looking for, but we can highlight those we do have and start thinking about ways to improve our qualifications and increase our odds of landing that job we’ve always wanted.

Be Concrete
A bare bones resume that simply lists where I’ve worked and when doesn’t give a potential employer very much information. I recommend including one or two concrete examples of your successes, achievements, or accomplishments for every position. Mention that you organized a highly successful event that drew a crowd of over 3000 people. State that you increased sales by over 30% in six months. Etc.

If your research indicates that your dream employer values leadership or strong organizational skills, be sure to include those qualifications in your examples.

I also recommend including relevant educational achievements as well, particularly if you are a recent graduate. If you graduated with Honour’s or your research project received media coverage, say so. I have a Master’s degree in Public Affairs and not everyone knows what that means so I list some of the classes I took to make it easier to understand.

Focus on What You Have to Offer
My friend’s son had included an introductory paragraph listing his employment objectives. But employers don’t care what YOUR goals are. Their focus is on finding someone who will help them meet THEIR needs – who has the skills and the personality to move THEIR organization forward.

He had also written a really great section listing his most outstanding qualities – team-building, organization and logic, calm under pressure. I suggested he move this paragraph to the top of the page where it would get the attention it deserved and omit the paragraph on his personal employment objectives.

Don't hesitate to get in touch if you would like help with your resume.


Stephanie V said...

Your help was valued and considered. You'll be pleased to know that T has a 'stage' (audition) tonight at a very high-end restaurant.
Thank you.

Penny McKinlay said...

That's great! I hope the 'stage' goes well.