Relating that to your career change, we took your current job duties, chopped them into dozens of little pieces – and saw how a straightforward task like writing a research report might represent up to 30 different sellable skills.
I hope by now we can see just how many moving parts there are in any one task.
And now, after dissecting, removing, and refining the little bits…
We’re going to put them back together.
I know, I know.
We had something high level, we made it granular, and now we need to make it high level again?
Sounds redundant, doesn’t it?
But it would be redundant only if we were to reassemble those pieces into the same package.
But that’s exactly what we’re not going to do.
With that list of goodness-knows how many bullets you now have, you don’t just have a description of your experience.
You have a menu.
Summarizing old job duties just doesn’t work for a new career. Prospective bosses will look at your resume and say you’re applying to the wrong job.
So why highlight your old job functions? Especially when – as we just discovered – you do way more than you were previously selling anyway?
You owe it to yourself (and your lucky future employer!) to reflect your resume in ways that will be well understood.
Establish a theme
Across those dozens of and dozens of bullets, it’s inevitable that some could be linked. Not the same, of course – but similar enough that you could establish a theme.
All of those writing tasks, presentations, and designs could fit into any communications family. Same goes for strategic planning, sales, client services, project management – and the list goes on forever.
But don’t expect those linkages to just appear. Some might stick out, but others could link to several jobs like a web.
It’s easy to tune your vision to see which theme you need to establish, though – because you already set your job target.
Because what exactly will that new theme become?
Your new career.
The theme becomes your new brand
Once you’ve identified what you want to showcase, you know what you want to eliminate.
There’s nothing that loses attention like a busy, unfocused resume.
You don’t have to describe everything you’ve ever done, only what’s relevant to the job you want.
This is why it’s so important to narrow your focus when deciding on a new career: if you want to try ten different new careers, then you’ll be building ten different resumes for each. (And tailoring each of those for every specific job you seek.)
There’s a lot of work that goes into that one new career, so make sure it’s purposeful.
The good news is that you also don’t need to show how “well-rounded” you are.
You’re changing careers, aren’t you? The hiring manager should see how you have exactly what skills are needed, but recognize that you didn’t acquire them in a vanilla environment.
It’s important to keep in mind that we’re not trying to deceive, here. We’re trying to uncover our skills and showcase how valuable we are.
But we’re not trying to sell ourselves as something we’re not.
If you have experience in a high-demand area but you’re not an expert, then you could still highlight it – just don’t say you’re an expert.
And while you may have led research efforts on economic trends, that might not make you an expert on disease migration in the Elizabethan Era.
The point is to show how your skills and experience can migrated into your new job – it’s not to pretend that your new job is something you’ve already been doing for years.
But don’t underwhelm, either
Of course we would never make ourselves look inadequate on purpose, but it’s easy to do so unwillingly with the resume death knell:
And the easiest way to do that?
Using corporate shorthand for normal human English. Sure, you can talk about your “collaborative” skills, but you’d better show what you did with them. What were the results?
And please, please steer away from things like “team player.” Because I challenge you to find one single job advertisement that reads, “Must be acerbic, mean-spirited, and refuse to incorporate others’ ideas.”
So much of the corporate lingo just describes normal expected behavior for members of society.
Represent yourself in an impactful, meaningful way that tells future bosses: you can deliver.
Back to Elon
In Part I, we talked about how Elon Musk had to destroy the conventional car design model in order to make it better.
He broke cars down into their unique parts, swapped out what was needed, and put it back together in a package that served the same function, but delivered it in a completely different way.
I hear people tell me all the time that they’re “stuck” because they don’t want to “start over.” They feel that they have to ride out their current lot pretty much until retirement, and just accept their fate.
You can sell your career any way you choose.
The biggest hindrance people have is in figuring out how to sell themselves differently to what they’ve been told by their job descriptions.
By disassembling your previous experience, smashing it into tiny pieces, and repackaging it with purpose, I hope you’ll see just how many stories you have to tell.
And how many different futures await you.
(PS. If you haven’t yet read Part I of this post, check it out here!)
Have you ever re-built your resume from the ground up? How did it go? Tell us in the comments!