The only time most people think about their resume is when they’re looking for a new opportunity with a different employer. But, that’s not the case. A winning resume can increase your odds of success when applying for an internal promotion.
If you’re competing with outside candidates, you already have one thing going for you. You’re already there. When you have a history with the employer, they don’t have to worry whether or not you’re a culture fit.
Hopefully, you also know some, if not all, of the players that might include the hiring manager, the HR team, and anyone else with influence.
That said, you still need to sell yourself to get the job.
Many people assume that if they’ve been with an employer for several years that their reputation precedes them. They think that if they’ve streamlined processes to save time and money or generated sales revenue or cut down on employee turnover people will know. But the only way to be sure of that is to tell them.
The bottom line is that if you’re applying for an internal promotion you need to sell yourself with an eye-catching, results-driven resume. A resume geared towards your target role.
Here are six things you need to think about when writing your resume:
1) If you’re applying for a position at a higher level, it’s essential to identify instances that demonstrate your leadership abilities. Activities like training, supervising and mentoring staff; participating in company leadership or management development programs; any outside professional development or certifications.
2) Look back at your position or positions with your current employer with an eye toward any challenges you faced. Maybe you had to deal with low morale or outdated processes or declining customer satisfaction. Think of this in terms of Challenge, Action, and Result. Always try to quantify your results in terms of numbers, percentages or revenue. (Click here to learn how)
3) Identify any additional responsibilities you assumed that set you apart from other staff in similar roles. For example, maybe you managed a project for your current supervisor so he or she could focus on other things like developing a new campaign.
Does your resume demonstrate your value? You can bet your strongest competition has a resume that does. Visit Annette’s calendar to schedule a free consultation and resume evaluation.
4) Think about any recognition you’ve been given over the years. Have you received any company or industry awards? Maybe a letter from a happy client? It might even be something from an employment review.
5) When it comes to team projects, think about what part you played in the team’s success. Maybe you contributed some particular knowledge. Maybe you were the person who got buy-in from the boss to move forward. Maybe you were the person that team members turned to as their leader.
6) Consider any instances where you developed relationships. Maybe you were part of a cross-company team. Perhaps you negotiated better terms with a vendor. Maybe there was a time when you collaborated with the head of another department to solve a company-wide problem.
Developing an achievement-based resume will help when you do get invited to interview. Because you’ll easily be able to talk about the impact you’ve made. (Just make sure to avoid these interview mistakes.)
Start keeping track of your accomplishments today. Create a “brag book” with letters from clients, notes from colleagues, and performance reviews. Update your resume every six months so you’ll be ready when the next opportunity arises.
Don’t assume that your on-the-job accomplishments will speak for themselves when competing for an internal promotion. An attention-grabbing, results-driven resume is essential if you want to stand out from the competition.Particularly if you are in an executive position or are targeting an executive role.
Remember, when you are creating a resume for an internal promotion or applying to a new employer the same “resume rules” apply. Employers want to know what you can do for them. Your resume needs to convey your unique value.
Remember, the competition begins with your resume. Does your resume demonstrate value? You can be the resumes submitted by your competition do. Visit Annette’s calendar to schedule a free consultation and resume evaluation.
You know that next job of yours? Yes, that’s right, the really amazing one with the brilliant co-workers, cool boss, and fresh, free snacks in the office vending machine? That one.
You know how you’re going to land it? By quickly showing your future employer that:
a) You’re going to perform incredibly well in this job.
b) You’re insanely likable.
c) You’re really going to fit in around there.
These are the three primary factors that influence the selection process. The person who wins that great job will be the one who shows the decision makers, quickly, that he or she is all three of those things. And you have an amazing opportunity to begin planting these seeds right from the introduction, à la your cover letter.
Most people squander the opportunity. Instead of using their cover letter real estate to their massive advantage, they toss over bland, cliche-filled, or completely-redundant-to-the-resume clunkers. Or worse, they showcase all the things that they want out of the deal, without pausing for a moment to recognize that the company cares a heck of a lot more about what it’s going to get from you.
As a recruiter, it pains me to read most cover letters, because the vast (and I mean vast) majority of them stink. Knowing this should inspire you even further to create a brilliant one. Because, let me tell you, on those rare occasions an amazing cover letter crosses my desk? Mamma mia. It makes my day, and it most certainly influences my interest in its author.
So, how do you pull off a killer cover letter, one that conveys passion and talent and that makes the recruiter or hiring manager’s day? Make sure you do all of these things.
1. Tell Them Why, Specifically, You’re Interested in the Company
Decision makers never want to feel like you’re wallpapering the universe with the same pathetic cover letter. They want to feel special. And so, you need to make it clear that you’re approaching this organization for very specific reasons. And ideally, not the same very specific reasons that everyone else is giving.
Try a high-personality lead in like this: “Having grown up with the Cincinnati Zoo (literally) in my backyard, I understand firsthand how you’ve earned your reputation as one of the most family-friendly venues in the State of Ohio. For 20 years, I’ve been impressed as your customer; now I want to impress visitors in the same way your team has so graciously done for me.”
2. Outline What You Can Walk Through the Doors and Deliver
This isn’t you making a general proclamation of, “Hey, I’m great. I swear!” You need to scrutinize the job description and use whatever other information you’ve gathered about the opening, determine the key requirements and priorities for this job, and make it instantly clear to the reviewer that you can deliver the goods on these key things.
Consider crafting a section within the letter that begins with, “Here’s what, specifically, I can deliver in this role.” And then expound upon your strengths in a few of the priority requirements for that role (they’re typically listed first on the job description or mentioned more than once).
3. Tell a Story, One That’s Not on Your Resume
As humans, we love stories far more than we love data sheets. (OK, I speak for most humans). So, what’s your story? What brings you to this company? Did you used to sing along to all of its commercials as a kid? Did the product make some incredible difference in your life? Do you sometimes pull into the parking lot and daydream about what it would feel like to work there? Tell your story. Just make sure you have a great segue. Random trivia can come across as weird.
Say you’re applying for a marketing job with a baked goods company known for its exquisite tarts and pies. You may want to weave a sentence or two into your cover letter about how you took the blue ribbon in the National Cherry Festival pie eating contest when you were 10, and that you’ve been a pie fanatic ever since. (Yes, this was me, but I actually came in second place. Sigh.)
4. Address the Letter to an Actual Person Within the Company
Not one employee at your future new company is named “To Whom it May Concern,” so knock that off. You’ve got to find a real person to whom you can direct this thing.
This seems so hard or overwhelming, but it’s often easier than you may think. Just mosey over to LinkedIn and do a People search using the company’s name as your search term. Scroll through the people working at that company until you find someone who appears to be the hiring manager. If you can’t find a logical manager, try locating an internal recruiter, the head of staffing or, in smaller companies, the head of HR. Address your masterpiece to that person. Your effort will be noted and appreciated.
And a last, critical factor when it comes to delivering a great cover letter: Be you. Honest, genuine writing always goes much, much further than sticking to every dumb rule you’ve ever read in stale, outdated career guides and college textbooks.
Rules can be bent. In fact, if you truly want that amazing job with the brilliant co-workers, cool boss, and fresh, free snacks? They should be.
That's awesome to hear, because connecting great people to great jobs is kinda our thing.
Check Out Tons of Openings Now