Targeting your resume for maximum effect

Targeting your resumeOnce your Shiny New Resume is ready, you should consider tweaking your resume a bit for each position. Tightening up the focus and terminology to really target what they’re looking for can be very effective. Consider your Shiny New Resume a baseline and rearrange, add and remove as you notice the priorities of the position and company. Don’t forget to customize your cover letter as well as your resume.

The employer spent time writing the job posting; make sure you give it equal attention. Research the company to find out what you can about their company culture and human resources needs. The more you know, the better you can make your resume match what they’re looking for.

Match the key points of the job posting with the most visible parts of your resume – put the first things first, bold them or otherwise make them easy to find (better yet – impossible to miss). Change the order to meet the needs of the job post specifically. So if they led the ad with something about climbing tall buildings, put “climbing tall buildings” first on your resume.

Phrase (or rephrase) things exactly as they did in the ad. Don’t use “scaling tall buildings” if the ad uses the word “climbing.” Chances are someone’s assistant or a member of the HR staff will screen your resume first, so don’t take chances with lingo they might not immediately associate with the position. Make it easy on them and match the ad as closely as possible. Your resume is about getting through the screening, not artfully stating what it is you do. Artful statements are “nice to haves,” but resumes need to speak directly to what people are looking for, and quickly, to be effective.

Research both the company and industry well. What are the biggest challenges they face right now? What kind of growth have they experienced in the last year? Why are they hiring for the position? How many people are they hiring? What kind of staff is the company made up of? Who’s the primary leadership figure (CEO or otherwise) and what can you find out about them?

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  1. By Career change success – Shiny New Resume on January 20, 2011 at 9:35 am

    [...] Targeting your resume for maximum effect [...]

  2. [...] Targeting your resume for maximum effect [...]

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  4. By Quora on January 27, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Going from entrepreneurship to the job market? How do you market your experience?…

    It really depends on the job you want. The most effective way to market your experience is to parallel what you’ve done to the next position. You’ll probably want to add and remove things depending on each job. The trick is to show at a glance how yo…

  5. By Quora on May 13, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Which title sounds more prestigious: Lead Engineer, Lead Developer or Technical Lead?…

    I would make it easy on the resume reader and use the title that matches your target job most closely. That might mean changing the job title on your resume when you apply for different positions. Using matching terminology instantly implies that you’…

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