Current Issue / DU Alumni

Keep resumé focused, career expert advises

Q: I am changing careers and am not sure how to update my resumé to highlight my skills for the new career. What recommendations do you have?

A: This is a great question given that most alumni will average more than 10 jobs throughout their lifetime. I recommend utilizing a summary of qualifications or professional summary section at the top of your resumé to highlight career accomplishments, unique related skills and volunteer activities that are directly relevant to your job goal.

For example, an alumna who has a natural ability in sales without the associated experience might use the following statement: “Outstanding interpersonal skills; ability to quickly build rapport with new contacts leading to long-term business relationships.” The key is to identify the critical characteristics that organizations are seeking and mirror those in your summary section. Often, career changers attempt to use recent education or other training to make a transition. The profile section also is a great place to list the skills acquired through such training.

You should also focus your experience section; make your bullet statements as relevant as possible to your new career goal. Start by brainstorming all of the tasks you have completed in a particular job. If there are any relevant tasks that you performed even just once or twice, include them. For instance, sales professionals looking to switch into more of a management or analytical role should consider adding a bullet statement about budgeting or creating sales forecasts. Also, don’t be afraid to list the most relevant bullets first — even if they weren’t primary duties.

Resumés can only get you so far. Don’t forget the importance of networking. Contact the alumni office for networking tips and resources: 800-871-3822 or

Paul Kosempel is director of alumni career information at DU.

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