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November 2012
Are You Promoting Your Old Company or Your Career?
by Susan Reynolds

You're searching for a new job, a new career. But your resume does a better job of selling the benefits of your old company and does little to really promote YOUR abilities. And to make matters worse, your interviews go much the same way. You're a very clear advocate of how great your old company is, but you leave your own abilities barely mentioned.

First of all, let's dispel the myth that your resume must include a lengthy explanation of what your old company does. You probably don't need to use very much resume real estate on this at all. It may be in your benefit to mention certain things, such as the industry, the budget you managed or impacted, the revenue in which you participated in creating and the staff with whom you interacted. Was your prior company such a leader in its industry that simply having been selected to work there reflects beneficially on your career? Maybe that answer is "yes", but evaluate this carefully and make sure you're giving your organization ONLY the credit it deserves, and are taking credit yourself however appropriate!

Your resume, your interviews, your networking... this is all about you. Many (most?) people have trouble effectively promoting themselves anyway, so make very sure you're not ducking behind your company instead of clearly explaining your own ability to contribute. Every time you catch yourself speaking in terms of the goals and achievements of the organization, try to turn it around to be a statement of just what you did to contribute to that success! After all, you're the one that's looking for a new career!

Susan Reynolds is a senior partner at NewMarket Careers in Santa Clarita, a job search, career strategy, and resume-writing firm geared toward managerial, executive, and senior level professional careers. She can be reached at or 661-755-3308.

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