I’ve written previously about the need to target a resume for the job you want. But how do you do that?
First, you have to read the advertisement or posting for the job. Read it thoroughly. You want to note both the hard and soft skills the employer is looking for. Hard skills include specific requirements like “knowledge of Excel” or “90% travel.” Soft qualifications are found in statements like “will work closely with engineering department”—what part of your past experience or training shows that you work well with engineers?
Second, make sure that you have the skills listed in the advertisement or posting. Enter them in your resume using the same keywords. For example, if the ad asks for “expert knowledge of Excel,” make sure your resume specifies that you have “expert knowledge of Excel.” It’s also important to show how you used your skills to benefit your former employers. Almost anyone can learn Excel. But what if you used Excel to better manage inventory, saving time and staff? That is an accomplishment that your prospective employer will value highly.
Third, research the company online. Find out if they offer a product or service you have worked with in another situation; or reach out to customers you are familiar with; or operate in countries you have visited. Any connection you can make between the company and your own background will strengthen your resume.
Fourth, remember that a resume is not your life story. You don’t have to “make” all your experience relevant. Without creating gaps in your resume, leave out details that your future employer won’t care about and devote the most space to the most relevant experience. If you’ve had a long career, summarize your very early experience; you’ve moved far beyond that first job as an intern or trainee or assistant to the assistant.
Above all, write your resume for the job you want, not the job you left behind. Phone or email me today and I will put your resume solidly “on target.”