Prep for a Promotion:
Revamp Your Resume
Here are five ways to update your CV and land that dream job.
If you’re looking to get a promotion, it’s time to set yourself up for success. Be intentional in voicing your career goals and accomplishments. Let your boss know you’re good at what you do and are interested in moving up the ladder. It’s best to update your resume every few months—even if you aren’t currently looking for a new job—as the process itself can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, positioning you for success down the road.
Although all of the advice outlined here is applicable to revamping a resume in general, writing a CV to move up the ladder is a slightly different process than editing it for a new job at a new company. It’s still important to condense your career history into a succinct document, just like you did when you first hired, but by tailoring your resume to an internal position you have your eye on, you’ll have a considerable advantage over outside candidates.
Even if you have been with your company for a few years, the hiring manager will still want to see how you plan to add value to the company. Remember, you’ll be competing with external applicants who’ll submit resumes of their own, and hiring managers want to compare resumes side by side—don’t assume your current employer will open your employment folder to find all of your achievements. Use your insider knowledge to show why you’re the best fit for the job.
Should you scrap your old resume and start fresh on a new one? No. Your old resume is full of relevant material. Nail these five editing tips instead, and you’ll be a top contender for any opportunity that comes your way.
1. Make a List
Before you update your resume, take the time to make a list of your skills and accomplishments. What do you do day-to-day in your job, what else can you do, and how will you use those skills to fulfill the responsibilities of your new role? This list can be 10-40 bullet-points.
Make an exhaustive list, even if only one or two things end up on your resume—it’s still a great idea to reflect and prepare yourself for any in-person conversations. Include how you add value to the company and what you bring to any team. Did you increase sales, save money, identify and solve a problem, or implement a new procedure? Think about the impact you’ve had and include it when you update your resume.
2. Rethink Your Objective Statement
Look at the career objective on your old resume. Does it bring you joy? If that’s a no, then get rid of it. Instead of an objective statement, write a purpose to impact sentence or include a professional profile, a short paragraph articulating your skills and how they relate to the job for which you’re applying. As succinctly as possible, convince the hiring manager you’re perfect for the new role and promotion. Refrain from telling them how fantastic you’ve been at your current position—this section is when you explain why you’re a fit for the next step.
3. Highlight Your Relevant Skills
Draw attention to your relevant skills when you update your resume or write your cover letter. These are not your most important career accomplishments, but rather skills that directly relate to the new role. Look at the primary job requirements of the position and write a one-sentence description for how you’d accomplish each one. These could be three short sentences explaining what makes you perfect for the new position.
For example, if the job description says, “Develop plans and coordinate activities to deliver work on time, every time,” write an example of when you’ve accomplished just that. When you’re striving for a promotion, showing you can accomplish what’s required puts you ahead of the external competition.
4. Fill in the Gaps
Let’s pretend you’re applying for a management role and you don’t have five years of experience managing people. You can still highlight leadership skills and abilities even if you’re currently in a non-leadership role. Have you mentored new employees, managed a vendor relationship, volunteered in a managerial capacity, or influenced a colleague you didn’t necessarily have direct authority over? These are all examples of “managing,” which can be verified by your current teammates.
5. Pay Attention to Your Language
Take a close look at the job requirements of the new position and update your CV with precision. Make sure and use the same words as the skills in the description of the internal job you’re applying for (you should do this when applying to any job). This gets the hiring manager’s attention by communicating that you fully understand what the role entails and how you plan to use your skills once you have that job. If the job description says, “The mission of the Marketing Manager is to add value as a liaison, initiator, and advocate,” use that same language when you update your resume.
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