It's What You Did, Not What Your Job Title Was

by | March 10, 2009

The information on your resume is worthless if it doesn't interest a potential employer. So always remember rule number one: employers don't really, truly care what you did at your last job. They care about what you can do for them. They wonder about your potential for future success working for them. And your resume must answer these questions for them.

Specific job openings, whether they came from newspaper ads, Internet sites or inter-office memos, probably came with specific job descriptions. If you find out about the job through a friend, ask for a copy of the job description. Your job is to meet those requirements by listing your qualifications that most closely meet these prerequisites.

As Shannon Heidkamp, recruiting manager for a division of Allstate Insurance says, "People need to ask themselves "What value can I offer this prospective employer?" Resumes should scream ability, not drone on about responsibility. Employers should be visualizing you in the new position, not remembering you as "that account assistant from Chase." While the some former employers can offer radiance to your resume by their mere presence, you don't want to be thought of as a cog from another machine. Instead, your resume should present you as an essential component of a company's success.

When considering the skills that make you a valuable prospect, think broadly. Anybody's who's worked a single day can point to several different skills, because even the most isolated, repetitive jobs offer a range of experience.

Highway toll collection, for instance, is a repetitive job with limited variation, but even that career requires multiple job skills. Helping lost highway drivers read a map means "Offering customer service in a prompt, details-oriented environment." Making change for riders translates as "Cashiering in a high-pressure, fast-paced setting." But unless these toll-booth workers emphasized these skills to prospective employers, they will be restricted to the highway life.

The key is to remember that employers are interested in how your skills will help their company. Nearly everyone has at least a handful of talents they've gained from school, work, or just life. The task now is to convince employers through

Filed Under: Job Search


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