By Erin Kennedy
Your resume is about your future, not your past.
Based on this theory, remember, when writing your resume, that your audience is the hiring manager for the position mentioned in the job description.
A concise and focused resume can get you considered by a hiring manager or search committee, while a general resume will get put in the “circular file” almost immediately.
The reader does not want someone who “will do anything, I just want a job.” They want someone who specializes in what the company needs.
The key concept in writing a resume that lands interviews and makes it past the applicant tracking system (ATS) is to keep the focus on your target job, which means you may need to tailor your resume each time you apply for a different job.
It’s not as tedious as it seems and it's well worth your energy when you consider how much more effective your document will be.
In order to sell yourself to this potential employer, create statements that are meaningful to him or her. In some cases you may need to:
Jennifer was a salesperson who wanted to make a career change into elementary school teaching. She tried to bridge the gap between her two careers by emphasizing the common denominators of the two experiences.
As a horticulturist, Patty was surprised to learn that the part of her job she liked the most was answering client questions. When she wrote her resume for a job as a travel agent, she emphasized her customer service skills and down played her scientific expertise.
In her former job as office manager, 75% of Andrea’s time was spent processing administrative paperwork, and less than 25% on training and supervision.
She wanted to get a job as a corporate trainer. So she prioritized her achievement statements to stress the training experience even though it was not her primary responsibility.
Since the majority of large employers, and a growing number of smaller employers, use applicant tracking systems (a.k.a. "ATS") to store resumes for easy search and retrieval, focus on the job's keywords.
The terms used most often for searching -- the keywords -- are typically these:
Be sure to use those exact terms in your resume in addition to other relevant language describing your accomplishments and fit for the job.
Understand that employers will typically want to compare your resume to your LinkedIn Profile. Make it easy for them to make those connections by using exactly the same version of your name on each.
Don't be "Bill Jones" on LinkedIn and "William A. Jones" on your resume. Without the ability to easily connect your resume to your LinkedIn Profile, employers are less likely to invite you for an interview.
Worst case, they find someone unqualified who has the same name you do, and your resume is discarded as a result.
An untreated resume does not work well now because of the technology employers use and the level of competition for most jobs. So, the best way to ensure visibility with employers is to modify your resume to fit each job.
Erin Kennedy is a Master Career Director (MCD), Certified Master Resume Writer (MCRW), Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), and Certified Empowerment & Motivational Coach (CEMC). She has been helping clients since 1999. Erin is also the President of Professional Resume Services, Inc.. Visit her website and connect with Erin on LinkedIn and Twitter.