Targeting Your Resume for Effectiveness


In today's busy world, there is no room for a 'general' resume.  Employers don't have time to try to read between the lines and guess whether or not you'll be a good fit for their needs.  The best way to increase the odds of your getting an interview is to tailor your resume so that it is very easy for an employer to see how well you match his or her requirements for this position.  Your resume will be skimmed in less than 30 seconds, initially; it is important to arrange your information the most relevant stuff is up towards the top of the page.

Step 1:

Read the job description carefully.  Identify each of the qualities, skills, experiences desired in candidates for this position.  It wouldn't hurt to research the career field in general so that you'll know more about what qualities are useful in entry-level hires.

Step 2:

Review your own experiences and training.  All experience counts, both paid and unpaid, if it is relevant to this particular job.  Decide which of these experiences most strongly demonstrate that you have the qualities desired for this job.

Step 3:

List these matching experiences after your Education section.  You can either name this section of your resume "Relevant Experience" or "Teaching Experience" or "Marketing Experience" or whatever will best highlight this group of relevant experience.

List these relevant experiences in reverse chronological order within this section. Wherever possible, use the keywords used in the job description to begin the descriptive phrases of your experience. Wherever possible, talk about the outcomes of your experiences.  For instance, if you helped plan a fundraiser, how much money did you raise?  If you took part in your fraternity's recruiting efforts, how many people did you successfully recruit? Based on your research, are there qualities or skills you possess that you know are prized in your chosen career field, but for whatever reason no listed in the job description?  If so, go ahead and list the relevant experiences here. Once you've demonstrated that you have a desired quality, skill or experience, you don't need to list it again--especially if you are running out of space!  For instance, if you waited tables at a popular tourist restaurant, you don't need to detail that over and over again.

Step 4:

If there is room left on your resume, you can add another section to list otherwise generally useful experiences.  This section could be "Other Experience" or "Leadership Experience" or some other catch-all title.  But, remember, if the experience is directly relevant, it belongs higher up on the page.

Come to one of our many Resume and Cover letter workshops for a thorough demonstration of targeting your resume.

Bring your job description and your resume draft to an appointment with a career advisor with assistance with learning how to target your resume.  Call (757)221-3231 to schedule an appointment.