Education Career Services

March 1, 2010

Competency Based Resume

Thinking about a career transition?  Want to change industries?  Think your job title “boxes you in?”  Or do you just want to try something new professionally?  If any of these sounds like you, then you should consider a not-so-run-of-the-mill resume to match your new attitude.

What exactly does that mean?  It means that you should re-think the “job title, company name, location, dates worked” model and go for a competency based resume.  This resume format takes the focus off your job titles and puts it on your skills, abilities and accomplishments.  It also helps the companies and industries you’re interested in to really look at what you bring to the table and how you’ve positively impacted your previous employers.

This may be appear to be a formidable challenge, but getting there is relatively easy.  Go ahead and look at your current, basic resume, no matter the format.  Look at those descriptions you’ve put in your experience section and ramp them up.  Forget the “responsibilities included” and “duties” statements.  Go for numbers, amounts, percents—in other words, if you improved a process at your company, then take it to the next step and describe the impact.  Did it improve sales by a certain percent?  Reduce costs?  Earn money?  If so, those amounts need to be included.  Now you’re speaking a language the employers want to hear.  

If the above paragraph doesn’t convince you, this should.  Employers are telling us they’re getting literally HUNDREDS of resumes PER JOB ANNOUNCEMENT.  That means that you have to make that one-page resume count as if it were a first interview.  You simply must be action/result oriented to get noticed.

Once you get your information ramped up, look at the job descriptions of the field in which you’re interested.  What are the common, global skill sets?  Is it teamwork? Financial Knowledge?  Operations Management?  Once you’ve identified those common skill sets, pick the top two or three that apply to you and then those become your major categories on your resume.  Then take those bullet statements that you’ve already worked on and start plugging them in. 

Bullet statements that can’t stand on their own merit need more work.  The end result just might surprise and reinvigorate you.  You’ve now taken yourself out of the proverbial box and are really putting your skills out there.

Obviously, you need a section on the resume that lists your job titles, company name and the like, but that can go at the bottom of the document and have less emphasis than your skills.  Field test both versions of your resume and see which one gets the most hits. 

For some more help with competency based resumes, check your local book store and the internet where you’ll find many samples that will help you with layout issues, content and structure or consider reviewing what Education Career Services and Career Services International offers by way of a complete career management manual as well as specific career topics and services.

Good luck!

Thank you Angelina, your insight is most welcome and will benefit many of our readers.  We look forward to more of your work.  No doubt your students are blessed to have such a valuable source of information at their front door.

Danny

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