Years ago, a resume was a “one-resume-fits-all” solution. The resume simply said, “This is who I am, what I have done, and I hope you like me.” That was effective in an environment in which that type of resume was the norm. Employers were accustomed to weeding through non-relevant data to find what they needed. Perhaps your resume is stuck in the past.
Today, the old-fashioned resume won’t make the cut. To compete, your resume needs a new strategy. Sharpen your message to include accomplishments with measured results and each time you send your resume, align it with your job target. To be effective, match your resume with each recruiter or hiring manager. If you can prove the you are able to fill their needs better than the other candidates, you will earn an interview.
Identify the Needs of Hiring Employers
The first step is to review job postings, employers’ websites, and corporate LinkedIn.com pages to define the major job requirements. This serves multiple purposes. First, you can better understand the job market and clarify your goal. More importantly, you gain insight into the unique needs of each employer and general requirements for certain job types. That will help you to discern what to feature on your resume as well as gaps in skills.
Select Your Target Employers
Always begin with a target. Otherwise, how can you aim? “Any job I can get at any company in the Seattle area” is not a target. Conduct research and identify your targets. Many of my clients find it helpful to review postings on Indeed.com (or similar sites) and LinkedIn.com to review job functions. Most candidates have multiple career targets. If you have multiple career paths, customize your resume for each career path to increase your odds.
Overcome Barriers to Entry
What is preventing you from reaching your targets? Is it a certification or experience? The job postings will inform you of the requirements. Beyond that, you can access occupational or industry requirements on industry association sites or the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook site. Know your barriers to entry and make a plan to break down the barrier. It might mean taking a position as a stepping stone while you get more years under your belt or earning a necessary certification.
Tailored Marketing Message
This is the key to a powerful resume. Create a resume for each target employer or job type. For example, one career path may be compliance manager at a pharmaceutical firm and another path may be in government relations. A third could be a position in academia. The skills are similar, but the specific duties and requirements are different. Create a differentiated message for each target position.
Fine Tune Your Resume to Be “the Perfect Match”
Take it one step further and identify the unique needs of an employer. Target your message to show your exposure to issues the company may be facing or how you can advance upcoming projects/products. Use the profile area of your resume to call out expertise in a particular project type, product, market, technology, or function. This takes a little more time, but you will be rewarded when that employer sees you at the perfect fit - - THE candidate that is poised to perfectly meet their needs.
The Bottom Line
If you find you are sending dozens of resumes each month and your response is zilch, it could be that your resume is not focused on the special needs of the hiring employers. If that is the case, it is time to adopt a new resume strategy. If you need help, I am only an email or phone call away.