Advancement or Career Change – Write to Where you Want to Go

confidenceHere is a dilemma faced by many of my clients: they want to “go to the next level” but do not know how to get there due to where they are now or have been.


That sounded a little confusing so let me break it down and then give you secret to conquer this.


Where do you want to go:


  • Change directions in your current field?
  • Secure a position at the next level?
  • Break into a new industry?


What do you think is holding you back:


  • Stuck in the same type of position for some time?
  • Stuck at the same job?
  • Stuck in the same industry?


There is a reason that I asked the second question the way I did: what do you think is holding you back because these things really are not the biggest culprit.


So what is really holding you back?




Not intentionally, but in most cases you are presenting the box that is holding you in.  As I have stated many times, your resume is the foundation of your entire job search/business building strategy.  That is where it all begins.


Look at your resume and see if it has any of the following:


  • A career objective stating what position you are looking for including the words or phrases with any semblance to helping a company grow and expand.
  • Bullet points giving your previous and current employment that looks as though it was copied and pasted from the job description.
  • No mention or reflection of you what-so-ever throughout the entire resume.


That is what is holding you back.  If that is your foundation than this is exactly what you are communicating – your past in a lackluster, “what I was hired to do” way.


Now for the secret: write to where you are going not where you have been.


Let that sink in for a minute….I’ll wait.


When you write your resume you want to write it for the position you want rather than where you have been; write for the position you are targeting rather than detailing a past that does not match with that position.


You want the reader to see you in that position and in order to do that you have to paint that picture.  Do not leave it up to them to connect the dots.  Why?


  • They won’t
  • They don’t have time
  • They don’t care unless you tell them to.


Here are a few tips on following the secret:


  • Write your career objective all about them: you need to tell them who you are, what your value is and how you are the solution to their problem.  You have to tell them why they care about what you bring to the table and why they want to talk to you rather than anyone else.  (They don’t care what you want)


  • Know the job.  What skills, abilities and assets are most important for the organization and your success in that role?  Go beyond the widget knowledge – dig for aspects such as communication, organization, relationship building/management, budgeting, prioritization, collaboration, leadership, team building etc.  (Stop looking at your titles and what you were hired to do and look at what you actually did and how you added value)


  • Review your past experiences in terms of the new position.  What skills, value and abilities translate into the job you want?  If it calls for leadership where have you demonstrated leadership in the past?  It isn’t always the technical skills that translate rather the transferable skills that cannot be taught or they do not have time to train you on.  (You can learn the details of a widget but brining a strong skill set based on past success is invaluable)


  • Re-write your professional experience with this new perspective demonstrating your past as a progression or building blocks to that next position.  Demonstrate your mastery of the vital skill sets where you have been to align yourself with that new position.  (The job market is not the stock market – past successes are an indicator of future success)


It is your responsibility to paint the picture for the hiring manager of you being able to immediately assimilate yourself in that new job, provide value and succeed.  In order to do so you must be able to prove it – start with your resume than it will translate to your networking and interviewing.


If you effectively communicate and demonstrate yourself in that role – why would they possibly hire you for the position?  If you don’t see it neither will they.



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW


Leave a Reply