Career Corner: Answers and Information

January 31, 2004

 

Career Corner:
Answers and Information

After two years in banking, I'm looking to switch careers to something that involves more contact with people. How can I write a résumé that doesn't typecast me as "finance"?

What you need to do is re-orient potential employers to your skills, rather than your most recent experience. Many skills are transferable and, even in your current position, you may have good examples of how you've worked effectively with people. The trick is to make it easy for your new employers to see that you do, indeed, meet their requirements. Here are a few tips on how to help your new employer visualize you in the position:

  • Write an objective at the top of your résumé, particularly if you know what kind of organization you'd like to work for. For instance, "Objective: An entry-level, management position in a nonprofit organization, where I can use my human-relations and leadership skills for the benefit of clients."
  • Consider a hybrid functional/chronological résumé. This allows you to lead with a Skills and Accomplishments section, with subheadings like Leadership, Human Relations, and Presentation skills, You can take examples from any part of your life, not just your most recent work. In this kind of résumé, there is usually a section called Work History, where you list, in chronological order, the places you have worked, your title, and the dates-but do not go into detail.

The more you can find out about what an employer is seeking, the more you can tailor your "bullets" to fit the position's requirements. Did you, for example, head a fundraising drive for your current employer that raised $10,000? Did you organize a conference that called for managing twenty volunteers and riding herd on ten speakers? Are you certified as a mediator? Consider all the things you've accomplished and pick those examples that tell the employer, "I've done everything you require, and I'm a good fit."

Send your questions to: careerdirector@studentaffairs.duke.edu