In recent weeks, I've joined an ad-hoc emergency "response team" assembled to help people whose careers have been affected by the fall-out on Wall Street. In the process, I've been reviewing resumes of very successful young executives, many of whom have spent their entire professional career at the same institution. I have noticed a common set of questions based on the same general theme: how should you rewrite your resume post-college, particularly if you have been using the same template for years?
Biggest question: Where does the education section go? Do I keep it on top, or move it down? (The answer is--of course--it depends. If you want to make a career transition into an area that is more aligned with what you study, the Education may stay on top...if your work experience is more relevant, the Education section may move down).
If you need to rewrite your resume, here are three ways to get started:
1. Review tips from the pros: Career Hub offers free e-books on resume writing, networking, and interviewing.
2. Get started by developing a sense of what employers want and knowing what you look like "online."
To get a sense of the skills and experiences you should seek to develop and highlight in your new resume, read job listings and position descriptions.
To develop a sense of how your current experience measures up, search for yourself online (so you can see what an employer would see). Given that an increasing number of employers are using LinkedIn and other social networking tools to find candidates and make hiring decisions, it's a smart move to try to influence what they will find.
3. Start your resume re-write online by beginning with a LinkedIn Profile. LinkedIn has a strong search engine ranking and offers you substantial but a controlled amount of space in your profile section; it is a great site to write a resume draft--especially because you can seek out the profiles of others who work in your space (and make observations on what works and what doesn't). If you do this carefully, you'll find that you have a concise summary of skills and experiences that you can then use as a base for your resume. An added bonus--your voice will sound consistent aross both your LinkedIn and your resume since your skills will be presented in a similar way.
Want extra help? Consider contacting the Career Services office at your alma mater, or hiring a career coach. In my private practice, I work with clients on LinkedIn profiles--it's a great deal of fun and a good way to get started.