When looking for a new job, candidates have to deal with defining and detailing their level of job experience.
That definition may not be the same between companies. What was considered a senior manager position at one company doesn't mean that the same function won’t be considered a midlevel role at the next one.
Often, appropriate job titles can get confusing during a job search. There is no standardization as to how titles are done across companies. That is why it is critical for job candidates to focus on matching skills, not experience level, to the job opening.
Just because a job candidate falls into a certain experience category doesn't mean they can't apply for a position that requires the skill set they have – whether the job advertisement asks for more or less experience.
When updating a resume, job candidates need to ask themselves a few questions:
· Are they currently managing other people?
· Are they responsible for creating deadlines?
· Are they responsible for bringing a project to completion?
· What exactly does the daily job function detail?
· How much (if any) work falls outside of the daily routine?
· How much work is reactionary vs. proactive?
· Who do they report to? How high in the organization is their direct supervisor?
Job candidates need to use the answers to these types of questions to determine and assess what they have to offer to a new company and a new position. Because what may be lacked in number of years of experience can be made up for by actual work done on the last job. If a resume reads like a list of exactly what is needed for the job, a hiring manager will focus on that fact more than the number of years someone performed particular tasks.
That means the resume becomes exceptionally important. There are two effective resume formats for job candidates that can help increase the focus on the skill set.
A functional resume will emphasize related skills while downplaying work chronology. Rather than citing dates of employment, this format uses categories to highlight aptitudes and accomplishments.
A combination resume is a chronological resume that leads with a qualifications summary. The emphasis is on the credentials that qualify the candidate for the job they have applied for. Strategically order the sections in the resume to best suit the qualifications before work history.
Whether a functional or combination resume is chosen, a candidate needs compelling content to convince hiring managers to give them a chance. Consider these areas when developing the resume:
· Additional experience. Part-time positions, temporary employment, and volunteer work are all valid forms of experience. Focus on achievements and contributions to show a results-oriented worker.
· Key Skills and abilities. Incorporate the skills that would be valuable to employers, such as foreign languages, technical capabilities, organizational ability, interpersonal and written communication aptitude, creative problem solving, customer relations, and the ability to rapidly master new concepts.
· Other benefits. The resume should show additional items such as the willingness to work off-hours, flexible salary requirements, and a willingness to incorporate additional training. Candidates who show eagerness can make up for a lack of a specific skill.
Many web sites exist that provide job descriptions. It is important for a job candidate to make sure they adequately describe what they have done in the past on their resume.
It is equally important to be able to verbalize previous work and how it will fit into the new job application. Many times a job candidate will get an opportunity to explain what they did in past jobs during an interview. The candidate needs to know exactly what they will say and how they will say it to attract the hiring managers’ attention.
Both the resume and the “elevator speech” need to highlight results from past work. Hiring managers and recruiters focus on what they can expect from a candidate more than how long it took to accomplish it.