Guest Post by Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter
If you are a Millennial who has been struggling to move past the entry-level or early-years phase of your career, then you are not alone. Many Millennials set out on a course toward senior expert or management status at their jobs only to hit walls or be foiled by too-frequent job changes, layoffs or other unplanned delays.
Or, perhaps you are a Millennial who has experienced fairly smooth career movement, from intern to entry-level to specialist to manager, but now you’re feeling stuck. Where do you go next? How do you position yourself for that breakthrough role, and more so, how do you start paving the way for increasingly senior positions as you grow your career?
Craft Your Resume to Attain More Senior Positions
A good place to start is by crafting and nurturing a colorful career story comprised of a portfolio of content. The most popular items in this portfolio include your resume and various digital profiles. These portfolio pieces should be forward-looking, harmonious in nature and seamlessly interlocking.
Your social media profiles and resume should be forward-looking, harmonious in nature and seamlessly interlocking.Tweet
When someone requests your resume, the instinctual response may be to comply with the request with an, “I’ll update it and send the resume along to you in a few days.” The reality is, once you dive into your story: strategizing, being introspective, researching, recalling past achievements and envisioning your future goals and dreams all become necessary.
These thought processes are complex, multifaceted and sometimes rigorous — but in a good way. Like building new muscle, the rewards are multifold.
The best way to leverage this newly resurrected thought-work is to construct a foundational framework of who you are and why it matters to your target audience: people that are hiring for roles that are more senior than what you’ve held in the past.
In the research phase (mentioned above), you will have unearthed positions with the type of next-level accountabilities that appeal to you and companies with cultures that fit your personal values. From that research, identify key phrases and words that jump out of those positions and keep them top of mind while identifying and parlaying your top traits and achievements. Ensure you weave some of those phrases into your resume.
Bridging the Gap Between Positions on Your Resume
If you’ve never held an official leadership role but are striving to make that leap, then you must bridge the gap on your resume. This means, identifying areas in your current role where you exhibit leadership influence or mentoring abilities.
Don’t just “keyword” your resume to death, though. Instead, you must write out stories that show challenges you faced that catapulted you into a leadership role and how you used that role to save money or time, drive new revenue to the bottom line or rescue a customer about to abandon ship. In other words, show, don’t tell, that you are a leader.
Here’s how one Millennial’s resume addressed the leadership requirement without yet having the leadership title. He leveraged his temporary person-in-charge role to his advantage.
Leading People: Led team to 115% of objectives after being named interim PIC (Person-in-Charge) of branch during leadership vacuum, after only one month in new role. Hybrid management role included branch compliance oversight, team leading, motivation, keeping the ‘train on the tracks;’ and overall performance accountability. Mentored two Client Service Specialists on a roadmap I created to a promotion to Investment Consultant in 15 months.
Moreover, when you are building your resume, keep in mind roles that you are not yet vying for – more senior roles that may be three, five or even 10+ years down the road. Research a couple of those roles and consider what areas of your resume story you must equip in the next couple of years. Write those items down; keep them top of mind. As you begin acquiring that experience, make note so that during your next iteration you can flesh it out in your resume and profiles.
Staking Out Future Goals
You might be surprised that the act of committing to the future goal will accelerate your acquisition of such experience. Or, you might find that you are more closely aligned with that senior-level role than you thought, and can immediately weave a few new items into your resume that, heretofore, you were unaware you had achieved.
For example, perhaps you were instrumental in overcoming a revenue slump while keeping an eye on overall margins. Here’s an example.
Strategic Solutions: Thwarted revenue dips and sparked 18% improvement in sales via trunk shows, special discounts, and other techniques, while maintaining a healthy profit margin.
The more aware you are of what it takes to attain a more senior-level role, the more likely you will be to start volunteering or asking for projects or tasks that align with building your experience muscle. These muscular stories will translate nicely into your resume, helping you to grow your career.
Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, CEO at CareerTrend, is 1 of only 50 certified Master Resume Writers and has crafted >1,500 interview-spurring career stories. Her BA in writing/journalism allows her to apply a journalist’s eye to your career.
Parlaying her learnings and musings into blog stories, Jacqui writes regularly for Glassdoor for Employers as well as her own lively career blog. With a love for the water, she puts value into words from her office on the shores of Lake Texoma, Texas.