I just got my BA. How can I target my resume to a job related to my degree?
Question: I have a BA in Labor Relations and am trying to get out of low paying customer service jobs. How can I target my resume with my customer service background to higher paying jobs related to my BA? – Educated and Unemployed, a Workforce1 Career Blog reader
Answer: We asked Ricki Curry, a Workforce1 Resume Workshop Trainer who has helped thousands of New Yorkers revise their resumes, to help us answer this question. Here is Ricki’s advice:
The key is to REALLY understand your “goal job.” Whether your “goal job” is to be a Human Resources Manager, a Union Representative, an Employee Trainer, or something else, you need to KNOW what hiring managers look for when they review resumes. Then, write your resume to show that you have the required experience.
Sounds pretty easy, right? But, I know it is easier said than done. This is a common challenge. Many people graduate from college with a degree in one field and work experience in a completely separate field.
So, here are 3-steps to targeting your resume to your “goal job.” (I used “HR Manager” as the “goal job,” since the question references a BA in Labor Relations. But these 3-steps apply to any field and any job.)
1. Research the specific skills and attributes that hiring managers look for when they scan resumes for your “goal job”. The easiest way is to read Want Ads for requirements. Just do an online search for your position and you’ll find some! But you can also visit your college’s career office or go on informational interviews. (Your research should focus on just 1 goal job. If you have more than 1 goal job, you will need to have separate versions of your resume. See related blog post.)
2. Make a list of the specific skills and attributes that are most desired by hiring managers. For example, you might find that almost all Want Ads for HR Managers say they need someone who can “exercise confidentiality and discretion” as well as someone who is “detail-oriented with excellent organizational skills.”
3. Write your resume to highlight how YOU have the SPECIFIC SKILLS and ATTRIBUTES that you listed in step 2. “Exercising confidentiality and discretion” might not have been the biggest responsibility at your last job, but can you think of a situation where you demonstrated those skills? Don’t make up an example, but do write about as many key skills and attributes listed in step 2 as you’ve TRULY demonstrated. Use the same language as the Want Ads use. Past jobs, education, volunteer work, membership in professional associations, and internships, can all be used on your resume to show how you have the skills and attributes identified in step 2. And, if you find that you simply don’t have experiences, you can think of ways to “fill in the gap.” For ideas, check out our blog post.