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Targeted Resume    

Writing a Resume that Works: the Targeted Resume

The Targeted Resume has a Specific Purpose:

There are two kinds of resumes: general and targeted.   Most people have a general resume that they might post on a jobs board but which is not written with a specific job in mind.  So general resumes often fail to convince an employer that you are qualified for his/her specific job.  A general resume will invariably include information that is not relevant and emphasize (list first in the resume) the wrong things (e.g. work experience, like being a barista, when you are applying for a job as an environmental consultant, instead of education when you have taken courses and done internships in sustainability).  On the other hand, if you write a resume that is written specifically for a particular job and employer, you will be able to avoid those pitfalls and succeed in targeting what that particular employer is looking for – that is, if you have properly researched the organization and job requirements. 

This means ideally, you should have a different resume for each job you apply for

Start by Creating a Complete LinkedIn Profile as a Foundation and Resource for your Resumes

Before tackling a resume a good first step is to complete a full LinkedIn profile.  There are many advantages to actively using LinkedIn (one survey suggests that 98% of employers use LinkedIn), one of which is that your LinkedIn profile is an excellent source of material to use in the various iterations of your resume. 

Highlight what is Relevant to the Job you are applying for:                                                  
        Job Example: Green Internet Marketing Specialist

For instance, if you have worked primarily in the food industry but are applying for a job as a “Green Internet Marketing Specialist” for an environmental organization after completing an MBA in Sustainable Business, why start your resume with work experience that is not directly relevant to the position you are applying for?  You want to put your best foot forward by highlighting those things that make you right fit.  So wouldn’t it be more effective to list your “Education” and “Relevant Courses” and other items that are directly relevant to the job (e.g. “Relevant Volunteer Experience,” “Credentials” or “Awards”) before your “Work Experience.”  Certainly, you do want to detail jobs that show that you are responsible and reliable and have other qualities and skills that will prove valuable in any job (e.g. “transferable skills,” general skills that are useful or transferable to most any job).  But if you have taken courses or have training or experience involving marketing, the internet or sustainable and environmental issues, for example, then you want those strengths to come immediately to the attention of the employer by listing them first.

Case #1 Resume Category Order for Education Focus – if your Education is more significant (relevant to the job) than your Work Experience: here is a list of the order of the categories you might use with the above example (you can create your own categories as long as you think they are useful and serve your purpose) or anytime your work experience is not directly relevant to the job        
        (note: most college students fall into this category):

Professional Summary: here is where you can summarize your professional self, emphasizing how you fit the kind of person (i.e. “Green Internet Marketing Specialist”) they are looking for

Relevant Skills: here is where you can match your skills specifically to the job

Education: here you name your school and the degree you obtained (or when you will obtain it) with inclusive dates and if you were recognized for outstanding academic achievement (e.g. G.P.A. if very high, President’s List, Phi Beta Kappa, Magna cum laude)

Relevant Courses: here is where you list the courses that would make them think you are knowledgeable and technically competent in the areas of their interest for this job (e.g. in this case, skills and training in such things as marketing, business practices, sustainability and the internet)

Relevant Internship(s): any internship that is relevant

Relevant Projects: if you did any academic projects that are relevant this is a category you should include

Awards: if you received awards at your college that are significant

Certifications: this is a new category that you can list (after you have included everything related to your college) if you have any relevant certifications (e.g. Certified Public Accountant or LEED Certification)

Volunteer Experience: if you did volunteer work that is directly relevant (e.g. Habitat for Humanity); otherwise, if you volunteered at the hospital, for example, you can include this after “Work Experience”

Work Experience: now you can include your jobs after you have focused on the more relevant items

Case #2 Resume Category Order for Work Experience Focus – if your Work Experience is more significant (relevant to the job requirements) than your Education: here is a list of the order of the categories you might use if you have considerable work experience that is directly applicable to the job you are applying for

Professional Summary: here is where you can summarize your professional self, emphasizing how you fit the kind of person (i.e. “Green Internet Marketing Specialist”) they are looking for

Relevant Skills: here is where you can match your skills specifically to the job

Professional Experience: normally, you list paid and possibly, unpaid work experience in chronological order (most recent listed first) but you want to try to start with the most impressive jobs, i.e. jobs that show that you are qualified for this specific position; if you have held a similar position or one where you have worked in the same field or kind of organization or used the same skills (e.g. marketing or internet marketing) or have training or knowledge that is relevant (e.g. organic agriculture or sustainability), then it would make sense to highlight that job(s) and provide ample detail of what you did and your achievements to demonstrate you can do great things for your prospective employer

Volunteer Experience: employers are interested in whether you can do a job, not necessarily whether or not you were paid to do the job; so here is the place to list any volunteer experience that will make an employer think you are most qualified person for the job

Other Categories: start with the most significant first and list in declining order of importance/relevance; see Case #1 for examples

Education: see Education example under Case #1

General Career Recommendations

Be Dynamic!  (not just passive) Be Proactive!  (not just reactive) Create your Career and your Future!

Many new degree holders and professionals post their resume on jobs boards and wait passively to be called by recruiters and employers.  This may work for some.  But if you want to be in control of your career and your future where you play the leading role in creating a life that is suits you, that is rich, meaningful and rewarding for you, you will want to take the initiate in networking, researching and pursuing those situations that match your profile of skills and interests - doing what you love with the people you want to work with and serve, in the environment where you want to be.  

 
 
 
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