Write Your Resume for the Job You Want, Not the Job You Had

October 23, 2013

My friend, Anna, has a pretty great job. She is an associate in a private equity firm that gives her a ton of responsibility and has enabled her to learn a lot in the short time she’s been there. But she has one major problem. Her office is in Boston and her friends and family are in New York; she really wants to relocate. So I took a look at her resume as she filled me in on her thoughts about the future.

“Ideally, I would like to change my focus. I work on healthcare and media companies at my private equity shop and I want to branch into consumer products,” she said.

“Do you have any consumer products experience at all?” I queried.

Anna told me she did but she gained it five years before when she worked at a bank. In order to make that experience more prominent in her resume, I suggested she add a Profile section so that her consumer product experience can appear there, at the top of the page. Although her resume didn’t originally have a Profile section, which is optional in resumes today, hers is a specific case where that section should be included. The Profile section sits at the top of the resume, where the old Objective section used to reside. (Objectives are now out of favor; recruiters care more about what they want in an employee, not what a potential employee wants.) Profiles help prospective hirers get a thumbnail picture of the applicant’s skills and experience. They also give the job seeker a little more flexibility in highlighting the talents she knows will be the most valued at the company she’s pursuing. Here is asample resume with a Profile statement from Monster.com. Alternative versions include just a short paragraph without the bullet points.

Whether you manage it through the Profile section, or by emphasizing particular skills in the Experience section, remember to keep an eye to the future when you draft your resume. Resumes are not only a selling document but also a positioning statement.