Each week, TopResume's career advice expert, Amanda Augustine, answers user questions on Quora like the one below. We'll be republishing those answers here. A certified professional career coach (CPCC) and resume writer (CPRW), Amanda has been helping professionals improve their careers for over 10 years. Have a question for Amanda? Submit it here.
Q: I'm targeting director-level roles in my job search. What do employers want to see in my mid-career resume?
“What do employers look for in a resume of an applicant for a director position?” — Quora reader
The entry-level resume format that worked when you were a recent college graduate will no longer serve you well now that you're a mid-career professional and applying for director-level positions.
When you're new to the workforce, employers are typically looking to see if you were able to juggle more than just your course load while maintaining a decent GPA, whether you pursued a degree that is relevant to the role you're after today (which may or may not be important, depending upon the field), whether you participated in activities or assumed leadership roles, and whether the industries or lines of work you were exposed to during your internships were applicable to their open position.
Now that you have five, seven, or more years of experience under your belt and you're pursuing a mid-level position as a director, employers are less concerned about your education and more concerned with what you've been able to accomplish in your recent job positions.
Your entry-level resume probably listed the tasks you were responsible for performing; in your new resume for a director position, employers want to read a little bit about your role and responsibilities, but a lot about what results you created, contributions you made, or accomplishments you built while operating in this position.
When it comes to director-level positions, employers are often looking at your mid-career resume to see if you possess the following qualities:
Leadership capabilities: If you've held leadership positions in the past, even as an individual contributor. For example, were you a team lead? Were you tasked with onboarding or mentoring new members of the team? Were you appointed to lead training exercises for your department, act as point in a team project, or represent your group in a cross-functional project?
Strategic decision making: How you've been able to make strategic decisions or develop and implement strategies that helped you and your team meet the company's goals.
Management skills: If and how you managed, supervised, or mentored people as part of your previous responsibilities. Under your management, was your team able to hit or surpass their goals?
Now that you're a mid-career professional, employers are not solely concerned with your mastery of the technical skills involved in your field. They want to know if you've been able to develop the soft skills that will allow you to build, train, and manage your team to meet company-wide objectives.
They want to see that you have and can think like a business owner. And they want to know that you can take a step back from the day-to-day work to develop strategies for your team to execute that will help you achieve your goals.
At the end of the day, your resume should highlight the soft skills and hard skills you've built over the course of your career.
To help you better visualize what a director-level resume might look like, I've included links to a sample mid-level professional resume and a sample senior-level resume. I also wrote an article on how to brag on your resume that will help you structure your work history in a format that employers will find attractive.
Is your mid-career resume ready for director-level job openings? Find out with our free resume review!