Beating the Bland Resume Blues means incorporating all the elements that will give your resume pizzaz and substance. My previous post, Does Your Resume Have FLAVOR?, identified six concepts that will jumpstart your resume’s impact.
Let’s start with the first critical element: Resume FOCUS. What job position or occupation are you targeting with your resume? Or are you trying to keep your options open by having no targeted job or a highly ambiguous / generic target so that one resume will suffice?
You may want to re-think the latter strategy. Employers and recruiters typically recruit and search online and offline for qualified applicants to fill jobs with specific job titles, such as Sales Manager, Director of Communications, Preschool Lead Teacher, or Chief Executive Officer.
When you apply to a job online, your resume goes into an applicant database for that employer or recruiter. They conduct a search on their applicant database based on the keywords most relevant and important to the specific job posted. Guess what the most important keyword is? The job title!
So, leaving out the actual job title as listed in the job posting means you have hindered your chances of being found by resume screening software looking for the number-one keyword. If you have held that job title in the recent past, you can easily include it as your Header, after your contact information at the top of the resume and before you begin your Summary and/or Professional Experience. For example:
Communications Manager – Non-Profit Association
If the job target is aspirational (you have not held that specific kind of job), you can instead express it this way:
Career Target: Communications Manager – Non-Profit Association
You will of course want to add your branded tagline right under the Header. That is the topic for my next resume tips post on LEVERAGE.
Here are some examples of a weak resume focus that you will want to avoid, along with immediate questions that arise from each one:
Objective – I am seeking employment as an advocate for the underserved.
Which underserved population? What role or job position?
What type of manager – financial, operations, information technology, sales, etc?
Objective: Seeking a fulfilling job working with people
This one is quite ambiguous and forces the employer to do a lot of guessing. What does a “fulfilling job” mean for you? What occupations or jobs does that translate to? In what capacity or role are you qualified for and want to work with people?
If you are unsure of your Resume FOCUS, you may need to consider Career Research or assistance from a credentialed and experienced career counselor or career coach.
Bottom-line, leaving all your options open often translates into no results for your job search. Businesses determine the niche market they are targeting to improve their marketing success. Similarly, your job search and your resume need to have Focus for increased efficiency, credibility, and visibility with employment target markets.