University of South Carolina :: Darla Moore School of Business   the Competitive Edge

with Ross Macpherson, President, Career Quest

You want to make your resume a marketing asset that makes your case for a new direction. But resumes are typically historical documents, focusing on what you have done and for what company/industry. You pursued an MBA to chart a future that may or may not be based on your past, so you want your resume to help you get considered for a role that is new. This presentation covers the top five ways that you can make your resume aspirational, opening doors to a promising future. Ross Macpherson, executive resume writing expert who speaks to MBA students at business schools worldwide, presents strategies with examples.

Key points:

  • Pull together everything that is relevant to the new role
  • Point toward the needs or requirements of the target position

Top 5 ways you can make your resume future oriented

#1: Include a summary profile at the top focused on your targeted role
  • Top Headline: One short sentence or phrase on where you want to go at the top.
  • Body of the profile: The profile should reflect the qualifications you have. You can build this section anyway you want to. The point is to see how it very deliberately showcases the qualifications you have for where you are going, not for where you have been.

#2: Include the right skills
  • You need to mention the right skills for new role you are targeting. You can list your skills under the heading of:
  • “Ideally suited to”
  • But you could also use it in a sentence, if you wanted. Such as:
  • “ Ideally suited to Marketing Communications role in a BioTech companies requiring...”
#3: Showcase your MBA up front

     If you are using your MBA to make a significant career move, then it just makes sense to really showcase your MBA in your resume. Don't bury it at the bottom of your resume. Consider moving it right up to the top of your experience. For example, you are coming from a career in IT and you are getting your MBA with a specialization in marketing because that's where you want to go. If you jump into an IT experience section, it might throw things off. In fact it probably will. But if you jump right into the much more relevant education section where your MBA is, that might serve you better. The other thing you want to do is really push everything in your MBA that is related to where you going. To this point resume is starting to look very aspirational with the profile, the education and relevant skills.

#4: Highlight any related accomplishments

     The next place you can make your resume more aspirational is in the professional experience section. It is a little trickier, especially if you are changing careers. But what you can do here is to put anything related to where you are trying to go. You need two steps:

          Step 1. Identify the most relevant achievements
          Step 2. Present as powerfully as possible

     Showcase your accomplishments from the most relevant to where you want to go. This way your resume is becoming more and more aspirational.

#5: Volunteer roles and other unique details

     The final way in which you can make your resume aspirational is if you have any volunteer experience, held any leadership roles or have any other details that might help position you for that new role in the industry. Chances are that it's not going to carry the same weight as your MBA or your experience, but it is all positioning you even more for where you are trying to go.

     Volunteer Leadership / Industry Affiliations is a headline that you can add anything else that is relevant including: Volunteer Leadership activities, Languages, Publications, Speaking engagements, Professional Memberships, Awards, and Interests/Hobbies.

In Summary Once you put these five steps together being strategic and deliberate, you have a much more aspirational resume focusing on your new career and qualifications for the new role you want. If your next move is a new move, you have to position yourself for that that audience. Promote yourself for that move to make your resume truly aspirational and you will get much better traction and results.

Expert BIO
with Ross Macpherson, President, Career Quest

Ross Macpherson is the President of Career Quest, a Certified Personal Branding Strategist, Certified Online Identity Strategist, Certified Interview and Job Search Coach, and is recognized as one of the best resume writers in North America. With over 15 years experience in the career industry, he specializes in advanced strategies that help senior and executive professionals throughout the US, Canada, and internationally. His work has been featured in 18 career publications.


Ross routinely speaks to MBA programs across North America, and is known for delivering powerful and entertaining sessions that teach real-world success strategies. He has also spoken at major career events, global industry conferences, professional associations, and executive networking groups across the U.S. and Canada, and his high-energy style has consistently put him at the top of the career management speaking circuit. Contact Ross at