Resume should be job-tailored

Jan 14 2012 - 4:12pm

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It is a common mistake to think that once you have perfected your resume your resume work is over. Simply put, you should tailor your resume for every job you apply for.

Going back to the two rules of resume writing -- Rule 1, always be honest and Rule 2, always be positive and Rule 2 is never more important than Rule 1 -- you should tailor your resume to point out your skills, education and accomplishments that relate specifically to the job you are applying for.

For example, if you are applying for an accounting job, your resume should point out any and all accounting skills, education and accomplishments you have.

If you are applying for a job that doesn't include accounting, such as a technician of some sort, and you have accounting experience, you want to mention your accounting experience without pointing out all the details. As impressive as those details may be to you, if they do not relate to the job you are applying for, they are of little or no value to the employer.

The first step is to read the job posting and do some research to find out as much as you can about what the employer is looking for. Your research can and should include asking for a copy of the job description or the "essential functions" of the job.

Review that information and decide if this job is a good match for you. If it is, tailor your resume to show just that.

You can also review in your cover letter how your experience fits the job requirements. And yes, it is OK to be redundant in your cover letter and resume. You would be surprised to know how often your cover letter -- and even your resume -- are just skimmed over and never fully read.

I have said, and will continue to say, the only person who reads your resume word for word is you and anyone helping you write it. Employers just don't have the time and few ever take the time.

The irony is you still have to ensure your resume is free of typos and is well-edited. As a writer, I know full well that good writing is not in good writing but in good editing. While you can edit your own writing, having someone you trust review your resume -- and making sure you ask for honest feedback -- is a wise move.

Lastly, keep your resume simple and straightforward. Avoid paragraphs, using bullet points as much as you can. If you have a bullet point that has 15 words, try to simplify it to eight or 10 words. If you can, always take the opportunity to place an impressive numerical quantity in the statement.

Initially, employers only spend about 20 seconds reading any given resume. What they want to see is how you fit the job you are applying for. Make sure they see what you want them to see during those 20 seconds. That will only happen if you have tailored your resume to the job.

Ron Campbell has worked extensively in the job preparation and job search industry. He can be reached at 801-386-1111 or campbellrv@gmail.com.

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