Is Your Resume Ready for Your Next Career Move?

As a Walden Career Services Advisor, I review and provide feedback on hundreds of resumes every year. Whether you are transitioning into a new field, re-entering the workforce, looking for a leadership position, or targeting a job similar to your previous employment, you can create a resume that clearly and concisely communicates your unique qualifications, accomplishments, and professional focus.

Start with self-assessment. Reflect on your strengths. What are you most proud of in your academic and professional accomplishments?

Have clear job target in mind. With a clear job target, you can tailor your resume to highlight your skills and accomplishments that match the required qualifications for the position.

Create a clearly organized document.  Use clear section headers and consistent formatting. Avoid redundant statements and long, unorganized lists of duties and responsibilities.

Include a professional summary section that conveys your professional reputation or brand. This section should include three to five sentences that summarize your relevant experience, skills, and professional focus. For example:

Dedicated Community Leader and Adult Educator

Extensive experience in community based nonprofit management. Committed to building engaged communities around common goals through dialogue, education, and partnerships.  Hold M.S. in Nonprofit Management and Leadership; pursuing D.B.A. with specialization in Social Impact Management.

•   Mission Focused                                    •   Social Media
•   Program Development                           •   Fund Raising
•   Data-Driven Program Development      •   Staff & Volunteer Training

Write accomplishment and skill statements relevant to the position. In Career Services, we call these CAR statements. CAR statements include a challenge, action, and result.  Here are three examples that take a weak statement and turn it into a CAR statement. 

Weak:          •     Increased volunteer hours
Strong:         •     Increased volunteer hours in tutoring, administrative support, and facility maintenance from 520 hours to 1250 hours over 6 months by collaborating with local businesses

Weak:          •     Reduced costs
Strong:         •     Implemented a new inventory tracking system resulting in the elimination of duplicate orders and a yearly savings of over $30,000

Weak:           •     Improved safety
Strong:          •     Improved safety by enhancing the training curriculum and implementing a safety checklist which reduced the number of accidents by 60% over a 12-month period

Don’t forget to edit and proofread! Editing and proofreading are essential.Nothing will eliminate your resume from consideration faster than poor editing or misspelled words.

Here are additional resources to help you get your resume ready for your next career move:

This post also appeared on the Writing Center Blog.

Written by Career Services Advisor, Denise Pranke