Using visual thinking to reach your career goals

Written by 
Brittany Bryan
July 28, 2021

Let’s run through your back-to-school checklist.

☑  You’ve registered for classes.

☑  You’ve triple-checked your schedule.

☑  You’ve curated the perfect study playlist.

You’ve set meaningful career goals that will guide you through this academic year and beyond.

Okay, maybe that last one sounds daunting. Maybe you already know exactly what you want to do and have a pretty good idea of how to get there. Whatever the case may be, celebrate whatever point you’ve come to on your career journey. 

Whether you have your career roadmap solidified or you need some help nailing down the details, read on to find out how your resume can be not just a path to landing a job but a surprising tool for self-reflection and improvement.

Search for your dream job right now

The corporate world moves and changes at a fast pace in big and small ways. It’s important to stay on top of trends and changes in your industry so that you can tailor your educational goals accordingly right now — and sound super prepared when you get to the interview stage.

Not sure where to start? Here are four tips for success:  

1.     Look for jobs you want in the future right now, even if you’re not yet ready to enter the workforce. Scour online job boards and carefully examine the posts for your eventual dream job(s).

2.     Take note of keywords in those job posts. Look at required education and skill sets (hard and soft skills), and compare similar posts, taking note of words that appear more than once. Those are the skills you will want to build (and the keywords you will eventually want to include in your resume).

3.     Compare these posts to your current resume. Look at what skill sets you already have, what you might need to work on, and what needs to be rephrased in order to match the current corporate lingo.

4.    Update your resume accordingly and brainstorm cover letter ideas to set you apart from the competition. Need some help with your resume update? Check out our Resume & Cover Letter Brainstorming and Review template or pick up your favorite notebook and record your findings.

Resume & Cover Letter Brainstorm and Feedback Template
Click on the image above to get started with this template.

Make your resume into a road map with MURAL

The new template, created by MURAL Student Ambassador Michele Mandula, is a great place to brainstorm content you want to include on your resume and/or cover letter.

Within the template, you can: 

  • Follow the step-by-step instructions to generate new content.
  • Create a repository of dream jobs or companies to revisit.
  • Keep track of new accomplishments on sticky notes as they come up. Refer to these notes when you’re ready for a refresh.
  • Define career goals for yourself, list skills or experience you aspire to have that will help you achieve your goals. Go further and brainstorm the steps you can take to develop those skills!
  • Research job positions and brainstorm key points for your cover letter.
  • Share with others to receive feedback. 
Have friends, teachers, and mentors review your resume for candid feedback.

As you continue in your school year, keep track of the keywords, achievements, and skill sets you aspire to have in the future, and base your classes and/or extracurricular activities around developing them. 

Start by focusing on the small, supporting tasks you’ve listed and then work toward the larger goal. For instance, if you want to place first in the National Pie Championship, start by baking a pie once a week. Bake pie for the people you love who are unafraid to give you criticism. Hone your skills before entering local pie-baking competitions. Eat a lot of pie. You get the gist. 

As you achieve milestones, make note of it in the template by moving your aspirational skills into your current skills section. In taking this approach, your resume becomes not just a catalogue of where you’ve been but a roadmap to your personal career journey, whether it be the path of a pie-baker or an aerospace engineer. 

Pulling it all together

Whenever you’re ready for a resume refresh, copy-and-paste your entries into your software of choice, and upload the finished product to the mural for others (peers, instructors, advisers, friends, etc.) to review and leave feedback.

Lastly, of course, download and print your polished resume and take it with you to your upcoming job interviews. Let your confidence carry you to success, knowing that you’ve achieved the skills that you need to launch your career. 

About the authors

About the authors

Brittany Bryan

Brittany Bryan

Brittany Bryan is a MURAL Student Ambassador and graduate student in the Themed Entertainment Design program at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

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