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How to Update Your Resume to Ask for a Promotion

When you’re looking for a new position at another company, you’re prepared to update your resume.

You think about your successes in your current role and describe them to an unfamiliar audience. You add in professional development you’ve completed since your last resume update. 

But let’s say your company is accepting applications for an internal promotion. You would be competing with both external and internal applicants. 

For a position like this, you might wonder how you can convey your accomplishments and growth to an employer already familiar with your recent work history. 

Certainly, you have an advantage because your employer already knows you fit into the company culture. What’s more, you likely would accept the job if offered it since you want to stay at the organization. 

So, how can you effectively update your resume? 

Your updated resume should remind your employer of what you’ve done since you’ve held your current position. 

“Many people assume that if they’ve been with an employer for several years, their reputation precedes them. They think that if they’ve streamlined processes to save time and money or generated sales revenue, or cut down on employee turnover, people will know. But the only way to be sure of that is to tell them,” said career coach Annette Richmond.

Here, we’ll share our top tips for updating your resume for promotion.

Tailor the resume to the promotion

As you would for any open position, you want to connect your updated resume to the position at hand. That means you should include successes in your current role that are most relevant to the position for which you’re applying. 

So, if you’re applying for a Vice President of Communications role, you would want to include the most significant achievements you’ve had in this capacity. 

You can even add in a qualifications summary or a section heading titled “Communications Experience,” where you can add in all the positions, training, and education you’ve had that are related to the role to which you have applied. 

At the same time, prioritize discussing your current role

You can include examples from your work history, but for an internal promotion, focus primarily on what you’ve accomplished in your current role. After all, your employer already hired you based on your previous work history and experience. 

Pay particular attention to highlighting your leadership roles, your most significant examples of overcoming challenges, and the recognition you’ve received. Internal positions often receive many internal candidates, meaning that you need to set yourself apart from external applicants and your colleagues and peers. 

“When it comes to team projects, think about what part you played in the team’s success. Maybe you contributed some particular knowledge. Maybe you were the person who got buy-in from the boss to move forward. Maybe you were the person that team members turned to as their leader,” advises Career Trend.

Be as specific as possible

Unlike an external-facing resume, your internal resume should include certain information you couldn’t share with outside organizations. For instance, you should use client names or accounts to let the hiring manager know you had a hand in some of your more high-profile projects. 

“Consider any instances where you developed relationships. Maybe you were part of a cross-company team. Perhaps you negotiated better terms with a vendor. Maybe there was a time when you collaborated with the head of another department to solve a company-wide problem,” Richmond suggests. 

You also can be particular about company-specific processes or methods, describing (quantifiably) how you improved them or made gains in this area. 

Keep track of your accomplishments – all the time

A good rule of thumb is this: you should update your resume every six months, regardless of whether there is an internal promotion on the horizon or you’re looking for a different job. This is because you’re having successes all of the time – and the accomplishments you achieved six months ago are no longer as impressive as later ones. 

In between, make sure you’re keeping a list of your accomplishments, keeping careful notes about the client, the challenges you faced, and the quantifiable achievements you produced. Specifically, keep notes in the PAR (Problem, Action, Results) formula that will help you remember specifics six months later when you’re updating your resume. 

PAR stands for: 

  • Describe the Problem or the Challenge you had to overcome as a team leader or management capacity. 
  • Next, share the Action you took to solve the problem. Here, write down how you came up with a plan and enacted that plan. 
  • Last, add in the Results of the actions – in this case, you will share how you measured your success. Add quantifiable measures if possible. 

Updating Your Resume for Promotion

It may feel strange to modify the resume you used to land your current job for the same people who hired you. But really, you can think about updating your resume for promotion the same way you would if you were seeking an external opportunity. 

Remind your employer of your most-winning accomplishments, focusing on skills and competencies they’re looking for in candidates for the newly-posted job. Be sure to identify what you’ve done that sets you apart from similar applicants, both internally and externally. 

The bottom line is this: even if you know the hiring committee for the position, they don’t remember your successes in your current role as well as you do. The resume that you update, then, should remind them. 


If you’re still stuck on how to update your resume for promotion, consider scheduling an Ivy Exec Resume Critique.


 

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