Why the Resume Writing Process Starts with a Goal


Over the last fifteen years resumes have evolved to become effective marketing tools. Gone are the days when a candidate’s resume was merely a chronological representation of work history. Some candidates try to fit in every bit of information in hopes to connect with a broader audience. When you try to be something to everyone, you are less likely to be the ideal candidate for anyone. Your resume should be focused on a goal.

What can you do to connect with a hiring employer?

You must present yourself as the ideal candidate. This is done by writing your resume with a goal in mind. Your goal does not have to be as narrow as a specific job posting or a single job title. Defining your goal as a job type is sufficient. Based on that job type, you can feature your top skills, expertise, and accomplishments to support that goal. In other words, you demonstrate that you are interview-worthy.

Why is the goal definition phase necessary?

There are two benefits of defining a current career goal. First, the exercise of reviewing job postings, gaining an understanding of the current job market, and assessing your skills against those required for your target job type is important. It enables you to confirm your goal or perhaps decide that it is not the right goal for you. The second benefit is that your goal becomes the focus of your resume.

What if you have multiple goals?

Some clients say: “I can do almost any job if I am given the chance. I don’t want to limit myself to one job type.” You don’t have to limit yourself to a single job type. Many candidates have one, two, or three potential career paths. Those job types may be very different, each requiring a unique resume version. For example, a client may have three goals: corporate attorney, a lecturer at a law school, and development consultant for a non-profit. You can see that a candidate could be qualified for all three. However, the candidate would want a modified resume version for each.

It is possible to write a resume without a goal. However, your response rate will suffer if you launch your job search with an aimless or catch-all resume. An aimless resume rarely makes contact. A catch-all resume, despite its name, does not catch all. It is far more effective to clarify your goal and write a resume with purpose. A great resume always starts with a goal.

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