Before you write that new resume...

I encounter so many highly qualified, talented folks who want to advance in their careers. These motivated professionals want assistance writing their new resume because they are frustrated with the job search process, but seem to falter when I ask them if they've been writing targeted resumes. 

Many people ready to move forward with their careers haven't written a resume in many years, and are unaware that in today's market we have to first identify the positions we seek. That piece comes first. The resume of yesteryear isn't the type of resume that we need today.

Why? Companies need to understand how your skills and accomplishments meet their specific job requirements. We need to show how our past accomplishments match what each company needs. Technology has also changed the way we effectively apply to positions - for example,  Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) scans the resumes for specific keywords found in the job descriptions themselves. Gone are the days that we send one resume out to every position.

Keep in mind that recruiters and HR managers only have about 20 seconds from the point of receiving your resume to scan it. This is due to the volume of resumes they receive - so make sure yours stands out. Consider a professional summary rather than an outdated objective. Include your LinkedIn and other pertinent social media sites which you use professionally. Remember that the top 1/3 of your resume is prime real estate - this is where your core competencies and signature strengths need to be highlighted.

It's also very important to think about numbers as quantifiers. Often people write what I call "half bullet points" - they are too generic. What sounds better to you, the first or the second bullet point?

  • "Supervised teams of employees on a regular basis" or

  • "Supervised 3 shifts of employees at 4 plants including 20 techs and 6 supervisors"

We all have these numbers, in every single profession. It's important to really think about what you've done and how to articulate that in your resumes. Quantifiers prove your abilities and accomplishments.

Once we write your first resume, which will be written toward a position of interest, we have a foundation from which to work from. Going forward, you will read each posting and tailor the resume to fit that company's specific needs. This includes researching the company, checking their website and social media, and writing a resume showcasing how you are a great fit culturally.

There are several different types of resume designs that you can use - chronological, achievement-based, hybrid and creative are a few. Research which works best for you and your career path, and what's the best fit for the company.

Remember - a well-written cover letter is also very important. That's the key to getting the employer to download your resume and spend 20 seconds scanning it for keywords.

This sounds like a lot of work, and it is. You're worth it. Once you learn how to tailor your resumes to fit the needs of the company, it becomes much easier each time - and you'll see the results.