Padding your resume and expanding your credentials are essential for advancing your career. Showcasing your unique collection of qualifications and skills will help you position yourself as an asset to any company.
Improving your credentials requires careful planning and a willingness to invest in yourself. Here are five career tips to enhance your resume and stand out from the competition.
Determine What Matters for Your Goals
Investing in expanding your credentials requires two valuable commodities: money and time. It’s essential to choose where you’ll focus your efforts to get the best possible return from this investment. While some skills and certifications are fun to attain, you should consider how they tie into your long-term goals.
Take a high-level view of where you want your career to go. Then, look at job postings along various points of that career path. Determine what skills and accolades hiring managers are including for positions you aspire to hold in the future. These qualifications could range from experience to certifications to soft skills.
Taking a targeted approach to your career expansion efforts can help you create a streamlined action plan that leads from where you are now to your dream job.
Invest in Continuing Education
The thing that sets successful people apart from those who feel stagnant or stuck is a lifelong dedication to learning. There’s humility in accepting that you still have lots to learn, no matter where you are in your career. Furthermore, hiring managers of all industries want to see that a candidate is passionate about their field and wants to become better in their trade.
Investing in continuing education is the best way to pivot or advance in one’s career. For example, a nurse hoping to work in the mental health field might take nursing development courses to expand awareness on trauma-informed care, crisis intervention, and end-of-life care. When the hiring manager sees that additional work listed on the nurse’s resume, they’ll recognize the time and energy spent to attain this position.
Set learning goals for yourself to keep your skills and mind sharp. Dedicate to learning more every day, asking questions, and expanding your knowledge base as it pertains to your craft.
Network Your Knowledge
Thought leaders, influencers, and industry gurus all have one thing in common: they positioned themselves as an expert in their field. No one told them that they’re an expert; these people saw the value in their knowledge and experience and used it to become influential.
It’s never too early in your career to start networking your knowledge. Even as a student, you can start to share interesting articles on social media with your analysis and opinion based on what you’re learning. As your knowledge and experience grow, you can provide more insights and start more conversations.
Clout and recognition from your peers is a credential in and of itself. As social media has become such a staple in daily interactions and hiring protocols, everyone has an opportunity to showcase their passion and expertise.
Start building your network by sharing industry-relevant content with thoughtful captions and blurbs. Interact with the content from other people in your industry and build a rapport. This strategy will help you learn new things, make valuable contacts, and boost your credentials.
Learn from Your Leaders
Consider the industry leaders and mentors that you look up to. What is it that makes them so special? How did they get to where they are today? What skills and credentials do they have that make them so successful and valuable to their companies and communities.
Consider the leaders you want to emulate— then eat the fish and spit out the bones. In other words, determine what nuggets of value you can adapt to your own unique skills, experiences, and career path. The key thing to remember here is that you’re learning from your idols, not trying to become them.
Learning to become a technical innovator and visionary like Steve Jobs doesn’t mean you’ll be Steve Jobs; it means you’ll bring your unique talents to the table by learning from his successes and mistakes along the way (while making a few of your own).
Develop Supporting Skills
Finally, develop some supporting skills that don’t directly relate to your career path. It’s often those offshoots that add value to a resume when applying for a position. These are the skills that hiring managers don’t necessarily think to add to a job posting but recognize the value when they see the skill listed on a resume.
For example, consider a marketing job in new product development. Having a background education and CV in the marketing industry is a must. However, the job likely requires some project management, budgeting, and research aspects as well. Having additional accounting and finance courses or project management certifications will set you apart from the competition.
When considering how to laterally expand your credentials, think of what tasks might fall under the “other duties as needed” category. Again, look at job postings in your chosen career path, reading the responsibilities and tasks rather than focusing on qualifications. It’s also important to read between the lines to see where the opportunity for improvement lies.
As you determine where you want to go in your career and what credentials you need to get there, set both short and long-term action-based goals. Remember, a goal without an action plan is just a wish. To get the career you want, you need to draw yourself a map and follow the road to success.
Ashley Lipman is an award-winning writer who discovered her passion for providing knowledge to readers worldwide on topics closest to her heart – all things digital. Since her first high school award in Creative Writing, she continues to deliver awesome content through various niches touching the digital sphere. You can find Ashley on LinkedIn.