What we can learn from Meghan Markle about updating resumes


We are only a few days away from The Royal Wedding there is so much information out there about anything and everything having to do with the upcoming nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. From her dress to the food being served at the wedding to the flowers in her bouquet but we want to focus on something really sexy: How Markle will be updating her resume as she transitions from being an actress to an official Royal. This is what everyone has been dying to know!

Amanda Augustine, career advice expert for TopResume, told Ladders, “Meghan’s done one of the best things any career-changer can do during such a transition: She pursued opportunities that have helped her build relevant experience and skills to support her new career goal. If you’d like to change careers, do your research online and talk to professionals in your chosen field to find out what skills are most prized and what experience is required to make you a desirable candidate.

“Then, see what you can do to start filling those skill gaps before you leave your current job. Look for side gigs or skill-based volunteer opportunities that would allow you to demonstrate your skills and knowledge — not only are these opportunities great resume builders, but they may also lead to valuable networking connections.”

But in case you don’t meet a royal prince, here are just some good tips from Augustine for updating your resume for a career change and if you find yourself moving abroad and need to build a European CV.

The first step

Augustine says take a step back and reevaluate your resume with your new career goal in mind. Your resume is a marketing document, and its job is to prove to employers that you’re a desirable candidate who is worthy of a job offer.

Consider which aspects of your previous positions, current skills, and professional development are most relevant to your new career. Then, reframe your resume to highlight this information. Also, consider what you’ve excluded from your resume in the past, such as a seemingly unrelated volunteer opportunity or an area of expertise that didn’t support your previous career track. Now that your goals have changed, this information may be worthwhile including on your career-change resume.

Review several job listings to see what employers are seeking, which can help determine which skills are transferable to this new field. Also, coordinate informational interviews within your network with those who have experience in your target area; they can help identify the information to highlight on your resume. Informational interviews are also helpful in identifying what roles will best suit you in this new field, if there are skills-based gaps you’ll need to fill, and how to translate your experience into terms your target employers will understand and appreciate.

How to reflect your career change on your resume

Crystallize your new career goal. If putting a brand-new job title on top of your resume is making you uncomfortable, consider adding “Objective” next to the professional title to provide clarity. Use your professional summary section below your professional title to articulate your relevant qualifications. Explain how your previous work experience and personal interests have prepared you for the role you’re currently pursuing.

Translate your experience into terms an employer will appreciate. Each industry has its own set of terminology. Immerse yourself in relevant online publications and trade magazines to better understand your target field’s lingo, so you can frame your experience and skills in a way that resonates with your target audience.

Optimize your resume with keywords. Most resumes are scanned by recruiting software known as an applicant tracking system — or ATS, for short. Pay attention to the terms that routinely pop up on the job descriptions that interest you. If you possess those skills, be sure to incorporate those words as they appear in the job description, throughout your resume.

How to turn your resume into a European CV

European CVs tend to delve deeper into a candidate’s experience and education than a typical professional resume. While most resumes for senior-level professionals don’t exceed two 8.5″ x 11″ pages, it’s not uncommon for a European CV to take up three A4 (8.27” × 11.69”) pages.

Details such as birth date, nationality, marital status, and hobbies are often standard on a European CV, whereas a resume avoids including such personal information unless one is applying for a federal government role.

While we didn’t have access to all of Meghan’s education details, a true CV often includes information on the modules, projects, and assignments a candidate completed during his or her university education. On a resume, this information would only be included if the professional graduated in the past few years and the projects were considered major accomplishments or provided proof of the candidate’s qualifications.

If you’re converting your resume to a CV (and beyond an entry-level job search), locate your transcripts from college and include your GPA and some notable college activities on your resume. Reevaluate the list of hobbies and activities you’ve likely stripped from your resume, and add ones that provide insight into your personality. Avoid generic hobbies like “reading” and “traveling” which don’t offer any color to your candidacy.

In addition, be prepared to provide additional details about each position you’ve held. Instead of simply summarizing your role and highlighting your major accomplishments and contributions, look for opportunities to expand upon your role description and explain where you’ve utilized certain skill sets or areas of expertise.

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