Chances are fair to good that Meghan Markle—Suits actress and Prince Harry’s soon-to-be wife—won’t have to work another day in her life, let alone have an up-to-date resume. But that didn’t stop TopResume career expert Amanda Augustine from giving it a fresh feel.
“Will Meghan Markle need an official resume for her new role as princess?” Augustine asks. “It’s highly unlikely. However, will she be expected to demonstrate why she’s qualified to take on the humanitarian initiatives we’ve come to expect from a royal? Absolutely.” And a polished resume, Augustine argues, shows exactly why Markle is the right gal for the job.
If, like Markle, you’re going through a career change, your resume will need to change too.
As Augustine explains, “a resume is more than a timeline of the jobs you’ve held and the education you have received. “Rather, “it’s a marketing document that should explain why your candidacy is worth consideration,” she says, “and that means accentuating your best and most relevant selling features, such as the skills you’ve developed, roles you’ve held, results you’ve achieved, and the professional development opportunities you’ve seized.”
And, “if you’re targeting a new job in a new field, your resume needs to be reevaluated and repositioned to highlight the information your new audience will appreciate,” she says.
In Markle’s case, that meant coming up with a new job title and summary, highlighting her many contributions to the non-profit arena—because, as princess, Markle’s charitable roles will only expand—listing new areas of her expertise, and identifying additional job goals. You can see Markle’s new resume here.
How can you similarly transform your resume for a new role? Augustine tells you the steps.
1. Crystallize your new career objective.
Your new resume must start on the right foot for your new role. So, “use the professional title and summary section at the top of your resume to state your new career objective and summarize your qualifications,” Augustine instructs. How can you do that? “Write a summary that highlights how your previous experience and personal interests have helped you gain the skills necessary to perform the new role you’re pursuing,” Augustine says.
2. Add and remove skills from “areas of expertise.”
You may have a ton of skills—but that doesn’t mean every single skill you have deserves a place on your new resume, Augustine warns. “Remove the skills that aren’t considered valuable or relevant in your new career path, and add newly important skills,” she advises.
3. Translate your experience.
“Each career field has its own set of shorthand and terminology,” explains Augustine, who recommends that you subscribe to “relevant online trade publications to get a better understanding of your target industry’s verbiage.” Once you’ve got a handle on those new phrases, “remove the industry-specific terms from your previous career and translate your experience into terms your new field of interest will understand and appreciate,” she says. For example, Augustine says, “if you previously sold advertising space but you’d like to move into software sales, focus on how you beat your sales quota using dollars instead.”
4. Optimize with appropriate keywords.
As you know, most companies use software to review your resume before it’s passed along to a human being. That means it’s important to use keywords so that it makes that first cut, Augustine explains. So, before you revise your resume, “pay attention to the terms that are consistently mentioned across the job listings that interest you,” she says. “If you possess those skills, incorporate those terms as they appear in the job postings in your resume.”
5. Repackage your work history.
The positions you’ve held won’t change—but how you describe them can, Augustine says. “Based on your online research and the information you’ve gathered through informational interviews, review each position you’ve held,” she advises. “Identify the tasks, skills, and results that will be valued most by employers in your target field. Then, rewrite the blurb that summarizes your responsibilities—as well as the bullet points that highlight your contributions and achievements in those areas—to accentuate that valuable information.”
6. Remember: less can be more.
“When you’re changing careers, your resume length will decrease because you’re reducing the information in your work experience to highlight only the details that support your new career path,” Augustine says, and that’s nothing to worry about. Concentrate on the value that you’re adding to your resume rather than its new length, Augustine says.