When you are aiming for a promotion in your current field, the ideal resume is one that shows achievement in your current and past roles, a track record of successfully taking on increasing responsibilities, evidence of leadership at a level appropriate for the more senior role, involvement in areas that are directly related to the more senior role you are applying for, and through all of this, evidence of the appropriate skills.
Your resume needs to achieve a balance between projecting yourself into the more senior role, and solid evidence performance in current and past roles. It would be a giant mistake to identify the skills required for the Director role and simply throw them on your resume without solid evidence to back them up.
1. What skills are required?
If it is the next level above you in your field, the job requirements shouldn’t be a total mystery to you. Take a look at job postings and role descriptions for clues, either from internal postings, or from other companies with similar roles. If you have interacted with that level, you could also do some brainstorming around the kind of skills that might be required. Think also about what the current environment might require. A change agent? Someone with operational excellence? A developer of staff?
As you move up the organization, there might be less focus on technical skills, and more on soft, organizational, planning and project skills. Competency in interpersonal problem solving and conflict resolution, negotiation, team management and leadership skills, department planning, project management, presentation and public speaking, employee development, and performance measurement are the type of things to look for. Of course, it depends on the level and type of role, the environment, and the industry.
2. What are your selling points?
Now that you know what they are looking for, what do you have to offer? How can you show that you can do the job, and do it very well? What else about you would make you an interesting candidate?
Focus on your strengths and gather the evidence to support them. You have a unique selling proposition. Perhaps you have great operational strength. Or perhaps you are an outstanding team lead. Ideally, you have 2 or 3 areas that are your strengths relative to the role. You want to focus on these, and if applicable, show that you have some level of competency in the others.
Don’t forget that you must be able to defend whatever it is that appears on your resume. You must be able to prove it.
3. Degree of competency
Another thing to remember is that when it comes to competencies, what is important is the degree to which you possess that requirement. It isn’t necessarily a yes or a no. In the case of vying for a promotion, you may have some formal leadership experience and be developing in that area. Even though it isn’t as senior as what is required, you can present yourself as a viable candidate.
4. Write an achievement-oriented resume
Turn your resume into an effective selling document by focusing on your achievements. In particular, achievement in specific response to challenges, opportunities, projects managed, and formal expectations exceeded.
Writing an effective resume is much easier when you know two things: what you are selling (that’s you), and what your target market / job is. If you know these two things, and you have the track record, you are in a strong position to develop a resume that shows that you are a logical candidate for the more senior role.
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