How to Write a Resume & Captivating Cover Letter
RAFT Team, July 10, 2023
According to a recent report by Monster.com, 96% of workers are looking for a new position in 2023. Most are seeking better pay, but some are seeking room for growth, and others want to escape a toxic workplace. Many advocates are looking with them and seeking a new career, often due to burnout. Advocate work is arduous! But where do you start a new job search, and how do you write a resume and put a new cover letter together?
Where to Start in Your Job Hunt
As an advocate, finding a job in a new field may require some strategic planning and targeted effort. Here are some steps to help you navigate this transition.
Begin by conducting a self-assessment to identify your transferable skills, strengths, and areas of interest. Knowing your own value is a key step in seeking a new job. Think about the skills you've gained as an advocate that can be valuable in other fields, such as research, communication, critical thinking, problem-solving, or negotiation.
2. Explore industries and roles
Research industries and job roles that align with your interests and transferable skills. Look for fields where your advocacy experience could be relevant or where you can apply your advocate skills. Consider attending industry-specific events, networking with professionals, and reading relevant publications to gain insights into the requirements and opportunities available.
3. Skill gap analysis
Identify any gaps in your skills or knowledge that may be necessary to succeed in the new field. Determine if additional education, certifications, or training programs could help bridge those gaps. Online courses, workshops, or professional development programs can be valuable resources for acquiring new skills or enhancing existing ones.
4. Network and informational interviews
Leverage your existing network and expand it to include professionals in the field you're targeting. Seek informational interviews to gather insights about the industry, understand the challenges and opportunities, and potentially uncover job leads. Building relationships with professionals in the new field can provide valuable guidance and connections.
5. Update your resume and cover letter
Tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight relevant transferable skills, experiences, and achievements that apply to the new field. Emphasize your adaptability, willingness to learn, and any specific accomplishments or projects that showcase your abilities to tackle new challenges. (We’ll cover this in more detail in the next section.)
6. Gain relevant experience
Consider gaining practical experience in the new field through internships, volunteer work, or freelance projects. This can help you demonstrate your commitment, learn more about the industry, and build a track record that shows your ability to contribute in the new field.
7. Leverage professional associations and online platforms
Join professional associations, online communities, and forums related to the new field. Engaging with like-minded professionals can help you stay informed about industry trends, job opportunities, and potential mentors who can guide you through the transition.
8. Be adaptable and persistent
Transitioning to a new field may involve facing rejections and setbacks. Stay motivated, be open to learning, and adapt your approach based on feedback and market demands. Persistence and a positive attitude are key to overcoming obstacles and finding the right opportunity.
9. Consider a gradual transition
If possible, consider a gradual transition by exploring part-time or project-based opportunities in the new field while maintaining some involvement in your current advocacy work. This can help you gain experience, build a network, and assess your fit within the new field before making a full-time transition. (Here are some tips to help you combat burnout while you transition.)
Remember, transitioning to a new field requires perseverance and continuous learning. Stay proactive, seek mentorship, and take advantage of resources available to you. With dedication and a strategic approach, you can find a job in a new field that aligns with your interests and skills as an advocate.
How to Write a Resume and Cover Letter
A captivating cover letter and resume is essential to make a positive impression on potential employers. Here are some tips to help you write a resume and create a c compelling cover letter.
1. Tailor your content
Customize both your cover letter and resume for each job application. Research the company and the specific role you're applying for to understand their needs and values. (Don't forget to do an internal check to ensure your values align with theirs.) Highlight relevant skills, experiences, and achievements that align with the job requirements.
2. Use a professional format
Ensure your cover letter and resume have a clean and organized layout. Use a professional font (like Arial or Calibri) and maintain consistent formatting throughout the documents. Use headings, subheadings, and bullet points to improve readability.
3. Grab attention with a strong opening
Begin your cover letter with a captivating introduction. Consider starting with an engaging anecdote, a noteworthy achievement, or a compelling statement that shows your enthusiasm for the position.
4. Showcase your accomplishments
Instead of merely listing your responsibilities, focus on your achievements and the impact you have made in previous roles. Use quantifiable metrics or specific examples to highlight your accomplishments, such as increased sales by a certain percentage or successfully led a team through a challenging project.
5. Highlight relevant skills
Tailor your skills section to match the requirements of the job. Include both hard skills (like proficiency in software or certifications) and soft skills (like communication or problem-solving). Support your claims with specific examples or experiences that demonstrate your proficiency in these areas. Don't forget about any mentorship or peer leadership you've done. Keep it short, but it’s vital to show how you’ve applied your skills, not just that you have them.
6. Show cultural fit
Employers not only seek qualified candidates but also individuals who will fit well within their organization's culture. Research the company's values, mission, and work environment to understand their culture. Incorporate relevant keywords or phrases that reflect their culture and values.
7. Proofread and edit
Thoroughly proofread your cover letter and resume to eliminate errors, typos, and grammatical mistakes. Use grammar and spellcheck tools, but also read the documents aloud or ask someone else to review them. Ensure the content is concise and free from unnecessary jargon.
8. Maintain a professional tone
Write in a professional yet engaging tone. Avoid overly formal language or jargon that may confuse the reader. Showcase your personality and enthusiasm, but remember to maintain a level of decorum.
9. Keep it concise
Both your cover letter and resume should be concise and focused. Avoid lengthy paragraphs and repetitive information. Stick to the most relevant details and ensure your documents are easily scannable by using bullet points and short, impactful sentences.
10. Seek feedback
Before sending out your cover letter and resume, ask a trusted friend, mentor, or career counselor to review them. They can provide valuable feedback and suggestions for improvement.
Remember, these documents should present you as a qualified and enthusiastic candidate. They should show how your skills, experiences, and achievements align with the job requirements and the company's needs. Dive in, write a resume, and be confident that your skills as an advocate translate powerfully into other fields. Good luck with your application!