Targeting the Resume

To help you target your resume, you need to ask some fundamental questions about the company you are pursuing:

  • How big is the company?
  • What does the company do?
  • Is the company a leader in its field, or a straggler?
  • What is the company’s history?
  • Who are the company’s major competitors?
  • What are the trends facing the company in its industry as a whole?
  • Are you familiar with the duties and requirements of the position you are targeting?
  • Do you have a good picture of the company’s ideal candidate? Can you meet their expectations? What do you need to do to come up to par?

It is important to target your resume at every stage of your writing.

Objective: You can easily make the Objective work for you by using it to show that you know about the job concerned. An intelligent Objective will pinpoint the job you are targeting and second that statement of intent with comments that reinforce your choice, i.e. “Targeting Account Management position in order to utlilize client development and negotiation skills.”

Skills/Summary: If you include this section, you will obviously need to think long and hard about the company and the position you are targeting. Every skill or experience should add to the argument that you are the right person for the job. If you are presenting information that does not help your case, take it out or try to re-cast it in the most beneficial light possible. (Lying is bad, but adding spin to your skills and experience is expected).

Work History/Experience: Employers are looking for a demonstrated commitment to the kind of work they are offering. If you wanted to be a journalist, you better have written for the school newspaper or submitted letters to the editor of your local paper. Vague notions of wanting to do a particular job will not get you the job.

Every experience you list should form a cohesive and persuasive argument for your hire. Sure, you may not have been a Technical Support person before, but you have a ton of Customer Service experience and you are very familiar with all the latest software applications. These two factors can be transformed into a powerful lever when it comes to applying for a job. You can argue that they show a demonstrated commitment to the type of work you are seeking. The skills may not have been learned explicitly in Tech Support, but they are “transferable skills” nonetheless.

Education: If you recently left school you may include the names of courses to argue your suitability for a position. Otherwise, your education says what it says about you and it is up to your interview technique to show why your education qualifies you for a particular post.

Skills: In your list of Other/Additional Skills you can flesh out your all-round employability by listing the latest software you have mastered or by stating how fast you type, how many languages you speak etc. Again, follow the rule of targeting these skills to the specific job. Leave skills out that do not add significant weight to your application.