Four Ways Your Resume Should Show Off a Career Progression
By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC GetInterviews.com
Whether you've worked for the same employer your entire career or lost count of the number of resignation letters you've signed, demonstrating how you evolved as a professional is key to a winning resume presentation.
Prospective employers find career progression very important. What better way to showcase your potential for future professional growth than exhibiting your capability of successfully doing so in the past? It also proves you have possessed ambition and drive throughout your career. Even more significantly, it can clearly convey the depth and breadth of your experience to lend you a valuable edge in today's highly competitive job market.
That's why exemplary format is imperative to maximize career progression on your resume presentation. Maybe you've worked 20 years in 20 different companies, or you may have invested 20 years with the same company. In either scenario, your career progression is easily demonstrated on your resume using the following four strategies:
1. Emphasize Titles. If you've spent considerable time at one company but held multiple titles, do not make the mistake of lumping everything under one heading for that company. Unfortunately, by mixing and matching duties of different titles in one master description, the progression gets muddled.
Be sure to let those promotions work for you! After all, you worked hard to get them, so they certainly deserve to draw attention. Instead of organizing your experience by company, do so by title. In this manner, you will be able to approach each role by giving it its own identity and importance on your resume.
2. Focus on New Responsibilities. Even if you leave a company for another in what would be considered a lateral move, you can demonstrate the progression in your career by showing how you increased task ownership in the subsequent capacity.
Rather than repeating duties used to describe your previous role, be sure your resume description for each progressive role clearly shows new tasks taken on when you advanced. No matter how similar responsibilities may seem, your experience for each time period is sure to be unique.
3. Recount Accomplishments. No matter what your title was, reach back into your memory and pull out at least three of your most valuable achievements for each role. It's great to have old performance evaluations handy, but even if you don't, a little brainstorming can help jog even the worst memory. Consider the following:
* In what successful projects did you play a key role?
* What were the main objectives you set out to achieve?
* Are there metrics you can cite to show measurable accomplishments?
* Did you form any strategic relationships that proved valuable to the organization?
* What awards did you win?
* Were you selected to serve on any special committees or to head any teams?
* How did you contribute to supporting the goals of the department or organization as a whole?
This doesn't have to be done in one shot, either. Take a week to think about it, and jot down some notes for each role you've held as each detail comes to you. You will likely be surprised how much you've actually achieved!
4. Highlight Newly Acquired Skills. The next step in your career journey will build upon the skills and knowledge you possess today. With this in mind, think about how each past position expanded upon your abilities. What new skills did you use? What new knowledge did you apply? If you completed any specialized training, be sure to include it as well.
Regardless of how many companies one has worked for, every career is marked by numerous stops along the way. Career progression is what will most effectively illustrate your ability to make a valuable contribution in the future, which is why it is such a vital element to your overall resume strategy.
Your resume isn't doing its job if it doesn't tell an employer the story of your professional journey, so be sure to optimize your presentation to make your career progression shine.
About the Author:
Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the "best resume writers in North America," quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee -- interviews in 30 days or they'll rewrite for free!