In a recent article about résumé strategies, Erin Osterhaus, HR analyst for the recruiting systems comparisons website Software Advice, emphasizes the importance of including data on your résumé. She points to an interview with Todd Nevins, cofounder of the job board icrunchdata, in which he encourages job hunters to “put numbers on your résumé. Percentages. Growth. Not just what you did, but the impact on the business.”
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Osterhaus explains that it is more effective to not just state on your résumé that you increased revenue for your company, for instance, but instead to say by what percentage the numbers went up. Or if you create online content, like us at StudentAdvisor, record how many pieces you’ve written and the number of subscribers you reached. Did you save your employer money? How much? Be concrete in your assertions, Nevins and Osterhaus advise us, because at the end of the day, “numbers speak louder than words.”
Backing up one’s accomplishments with hard facts is great advice for job hunters, but after reading Osterhaus’s article, we at StudenttAdvisor wondered how that strategy might apply to those making midlife career changes. Will the numbers in one field make any difference to employers in a separate industry? Showing you have been a successful and hard-working employee in past jobs helps future employers to judge your character and work ethic, but what else does a re-careering adult need to do to get a foot in the door of a new field?
StudentAdvisor asked Osterhaus how her résumé advice applies to career changers. These are her 5 tips for re-careering adults:
1. Make a LinkedIn account if you don’t already have one. LinkedIn is the go-to social network for recruiters and hiring managers. If you don’t have one, you’ll start your career search at a disadvantage. Make yourself as visible to recruiters as you can by including keywords on your profile that target the field you’re trying to enter and join relevant LinkedIn groups and communities.
2. Shorten your résumé to one page. Recruiters have short attention spans. Even if you have 10+ years of experience, chances are it’s not all going to be relevant for the field you’re trying to get into. Keep it short and sweet. If what’s on there is intriguing, the recruiter or hiring manager can go check you out on the LinkedIn account you just made to see your full professional history.
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3. Use your contacts. If you’ve been in the working world for a while already, you have something those recent grads and young professionals don’t–professional contacts. Reach out to your network to see if they can connect you with employees at the companies you’re interested in working for. Schedule informational interviews with individuals from those companies, and bring your shiny new one-page resume.
4. Brand yourself. Make sure your online presence matches your professional goals. If you want to go into a completely different field from the one you’re in now, show potential employers you mean business by demonstrating a legitimate interest in the topic. Create a blog that focuses on trends in your target industry. Read articles related to the job you’d like to snag. Follow thought leaders in the field on Twitter. But above all, contribute to the conversation in that industry.
5. Be proactive in your job search. Enter in your professional history on sites like Monster, Indeed, and CareerBuilder. On many of these sites, you can set an alert when a job you may be interested in posts. And an added bonus: sometimes recruiters can find you through these sites as well.
Erin Osterhaus is the Managing Editor at SoftwareAdvice. She focuses on the HR market, offering advice to industry professionals on the best recruiting, talent management, and leadership techniques.
What have been the most useful social networking tools for you in your re-careering job search?