Resume Tips: How to Apply for a Job When You Already Have One

Your resume tells employers that you’re looking for work and that you’re trying to establish a partnership with a company that can help you grow and expand your professional track record. As you draft and edit your document, you’ll need to demonstrate that you’re an asset to your target organization and that you’re interested in working out a deal that can benefit both parties. But in your specific case, you’re not willing to accept a second-rate option, and you don’t just “need a job.”  You already have a job. 

If this describes your situation, use the tips below to make a clear statement to potential employers: you aren’t just selling yourself to the first bidder. When it comes to your job search, you want something specific—something that aligns perfectly with your current needs and your professional plans for the future. 

1. Keep your summary as focused and specific as possible.

In your summary, use numbers, proper nouns, and specifics. Don’t waste space with broad, generic terms like “I’m looking for opportunities to excel.” Instead, use clear statements that attract appropriate employers and discourage inappropriate ones.

Try something like: “I’ve held a position as an associate for five years, but my current organization can’t offer the management opportunities I need.” Or “my role is commission-based and I’ve exceeded my sales quotas for nine of the last 10 quarters, but my company’s regional footprint is small and opportunities for growth are limited.”

2. Use parallel structure.

In your work history section, use the past tense when describing your responsibilities and accomplishments in previous positions. But as you describe your current position, keep your tense present. Switch from “managed a team of seven employees” to “manage a team of seven employees.” This may sound simple, but some job seekers struggle to keep verb tenses smooth and bullet points parallel. 

3. Emphasize the skills you want to exercise

If you currently spend your days working on an outdated ERP infrastructure that’s rapidly being replaced by industry-wide upgrades, and you’d like to apply the training you’ve received on the new system, make this clear. Emphasize the direction in which you’re heading, and downplay the ground you’ve already covered.

4. Leverage your experiences—all of them.

When you’re climbing the career ladder and you’re trying to reach up and grasp the rung above you, it helps to leverage every bit of experience you’ve gained. Play every card in your hand. If you’re taking a certification course, say so, even if you haven’t completed it yet.

In fact, if you’ve gone as far as enrolling in a certification course or series of training sessions, mention this. Even if the course has started yet, this bit of information can show that you’re ambitious and focused on the future.  

5. Get ready to explain why you’re leaving.

Managers will have one question in mind when they begin a dialogue with you: why are you looking for work? Get ready to support your resume with a cover letter and an interview that explain why your current job isn’t meeting your needs. 

The Right Resume Can Help You Move Forward

Leave the past behind and embrace the future by creating a strong resume. Visit LiveCareer and use the resume building resources on the site to tell your story in your own words. 

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