We're coming down to the wire now. Only two more to go.
Today's commandment is Thou shalt customize your resume for each employer.
I know. It's not what you want to hear and it's going to require additional work. In today's world, it's all about key words and ensuring your resume aligns as closely as possible with the job description. There are lots of books and articles from many career counselors that support this. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn't agree.
So, where do you start? Let's just work our way down the resume.
1. Some people like to place the title for which they are applying either on the top line with their name, or directly above the opening statement, or perhaps, in the opening statement. If you do any of these, clearly you need to change the title each time to match the one you're applying to. How embarrassing to have Financial Analyst when you are applying for a Senior Accountant position!
2. Next up, that all important key word field. Look at the job description. What are the key words that keep popping up time and again? Run the job description through tagcrowd or wordle to create a word cloud. What words are big and bold? Use those words in the key words section. And remember, they must be actual words that apply to your background and skills. Don't lie or exaggerate on your resume....EVER! Getting caught in a lie is a sure way to lose out during the interview, or worse yet, after you've started the job.
3. Match the language of your resume to that of the job description. I also work in the area of leadership development. If I were looking for a job, the job description may call it leadership & development, or organizational development. Whatever their lingo is, change the words in your resume to match......keeping it honest! You want people to look at your resume and see the person they are seeking.
4. Don't be too wordy. Is everything you've written on that 3 or 4 line accomplishment statement really necessary? Is there anything there that doesn't apply to this position? Then take it out. I am a big proponent of not providing any 'distractors' on your resume. Only use information that is relevant. I have a background in accounting, but I'm not going to include that anywhere on my resume unless it's relevant to the position I'm applying to.
5. Hobbies and affiliations. Many clients I've worked with have some interesting hobby, interest, or experience. That's great! But, is it relevant to the job? Perhaps you're a volunteer at the local animal shelter. Wonderful! But wait, how does that add to your candidacy? Probably not much. On the other hand, if you are applying for a job with a non-profit and have no experience working in a non-profit, but do have extensive experience volunteering at non-profits, by all means include it, since it is relevant and will ADD to your candidacy.
6. It's been said, but worth repeating: don't lie or exaggerate. It may get you in the door, but will not sustain your candidacy once discovered.
7. Proof read, proof read, proof read! Make sure there are no typos. Have someone else read through your resume and see if they notice anything. Get their thoughts on how you've worded things. A second set of eyes is invaluable.
8. Finally, you've done all this work to make your resume match the position you are applying to. SAVE IT! I like the practice of creating a folder on your computer for each company to which you apply. In that folder, keep the job description, resume and cover letter. This ensures that when you begin speaking to the recruiter or hiring manager, that you are speaking to the same resume, AND speaking their lingo!
There you have it! You've now written a resume that is a winner! Its language looks, feels, and sounds like the organization you're seeking.
Tomorrow: our final commandment: Thou shalt not make your resume too busy.
Thanks again for reading. Keep those comments coming!