Resume Challenge: Transferable Skills

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”

Winston Churchill

For today’s example, I’m going to show you how simply rearranging and elaborating on the information in your resume can expand your job options.  I’m going to use the example of an accountant – but it applies to anyone.

Imagine this scenario: You’re an accountant at a small accounting firm and business is dwindling.  You’ve consulted your Magic 8 Ball and the answer is incontrovertible: “It is decidedly so.” You’re soon to be out of a job. But you’re smart and you don’t freak out. Instead, you visit The Working Girl for some advice. Here’s what she says:

Here’s the deal with resumes. It’s all about changing the gameYou own the information on your resume, so you are responsible for showing employers what they need (and more importantly, want) to see.  Let’s say you’ve only worked for small accounting firms since you graduated from college 5, 10, 20 years ago. So that’s where you’ll look for jobs, right? (no)

You don’t have to be walled in by your previous experience. Your experience should work for you, not pigeon-hole you to labor in sad little offices until you retire at age 72 (or die of carpal tunnel syndrome).

You’re an awesome accountant – you’re detail-oriented, you know the latest versions of whatever software and technology accountants use, you have killer references, and you turn bottom lines from red to black just by waving your magic pencil.  (Or something. I don’t know a ton about accounting.) And you have the stuff to make it in the big leagues … But you need to prove it.

Here’s where the resume stuff comes in. Take everything under your “Experience” section (where you’ve worked) and put it at the bottom of your resume. Use the top of your resume to show off what you’ve done and what you can do (independent of where you’ve done it). This is where the effort comes in on your part. Take some time and just start writing…

What job do you want now? Do you want to continue doing the same type of work, in the same type of environment? Would you like to work in a university or hospital setting, where there’s always action? Are you excited by the challenge of working in a high profile law firm? These questions will all help you know which skills to highlight.

– What can you offer your new employer? Think: what have you already accomplished in your career? Increased/retained clientele? Changed your department to newer, more efficient software that increased profitability? Managed high profile clients?

– Include a section that highlights skills that you know your future employer will look for. O*NET Online is an excellent way to jump-start ideas and make sure you’re not leaving anything out. (It’s actually great for a lot of things, but that’s for  a later post).

Right now you’re probably thinking – I have absolutely no clue.  That’s okay. This exercise will take time and effort but it is worth it.

Remember, this is not going to be your entire resume, this is just the first part.

Questions? Comments? Was this helpful?

Photo Credit: Elsie esq.

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