A resume is a record of what you are doing and what you have done. The companies where you worked, the dates you were there and the duties you performed. However a resume does not reflect what it is you want to do. You highlight relevant experience in your resume to the job you are applying for in order to be considered but where and how do you let the potential employer know what it is you want to do?
Putting aside the issue of a cover letter…because let’s face it, in today’s “application on line” process often the option of a cover letter doesn’t exist. Also as a recruiter, I know that after 25 years of filling jobs for clients, I often only eyeballed the cover letter of candidates whose resumes fit the bill. Therefore if there was something in the opportunity I was recruiting for that interested you but your resume didn’t have the work experience I was seeking, there was a 100% chance I disqualified you immediately. So. What to do?
When you are applying for a position where your work background doesn’t meet the exact work experience the employer is looking for, your opportunity is to spell it out in your objective. And because it is so easy today to tailor every single resume to a position, I strongly suggest you do exactly that. After repeating almost exactly what the employer is looking for in your objective, under each position you held, show the relevant duties that can translate to the employer’s needs. Because you are at a disadvantage over those who have done exactly what the employer is looking for and who are interested in continuing to do so, use bullet points to point out successes. What is a success? It can be money you saved your employer. Programs you implemented. Time you saved the company. It really depends obviously on what you did and what your company’s business goals and objectives were while you were employed.
If you have the opportunity to meet the employer directly and submit your resume either in person or email and not through one of those awful on line application formats, spell it out. Bring up the fact your background might not be the most obviously relevant one they will see. Bring it up first. It will give you the floor and the opportunity to articulate the value your work experience can bring to this new potential employer. Practice with a friend. Good luck!