The primary challenge that many job seekers face in their application process is grabbing the hiring manager’s attention in a way that makes them stand out from the pile of other applications. A targeted resume is an excellent way to demonstrate your qualifications in a way that sets you apart, and is a foundational tool in embarking on a productive job search. When leveraged properly, a targeted resume is the best way to demonstrate interest in a position while also detailing the specific competencies that make you the perfect candidate.
What is a Targeted Resume?
A targeted resume differs from a standard, or general, resume in that a targeted resume is crafted for a specific job posting and is not suited to multiple job applications. A targeted resume may highlight certain experiences or skills that won’t impress every employer, but can be a valuable asset that makes you stand out to a specific hiring manager.
A targeted resume may also reference individual requirements outlined in a job posting, such as college courses relevant to the job or volunteer experience that demonstrates a specific skill mandatory for the position. In a general resume, these references would take up space that could be better allocated to more robust professional experience. In a targeted resume, they tailor your professional image to paint yourself as a candidate ideally suited to fill a distinct role.
For example, if an HR manager were pursuing an executive-level role in the HR department of a technology company, their targeted resume might include a reference to a brief stint working in IT several years ago before they moved into HR. On any other application, that experience would be irrelevant and might even signal to employers a lack of pertinent HR experience. On this application, however, a brief IT background demonstrates industry knowledge and familiarity with the product that an executive at this company would need to do their job effectively.
Use a Targeted Resume to:
Stand out in a large pool of applicants.
For hiring managers receiving dozens, or even hundreds, of applications, a general resume is going to blend into the crowd and be lost among all the other resumes with the same broad-brush professional highlights. A targeted resume that directly addresses the needs of a given position is more likely to grab the attention of potential employers and makes you a more compelling applicant, better positioning you as an interview-worthy candidate.
Make a more seamless career change.
If you’re trying to make a career pivot, whether to a new kind of role or a new industry all together, many of the skills that helped you progress up to your current position may not be transferable to the new direction you’re taking. A general resume built from the highlights of prior jobs will be full of irrelevant experiences that don’t strengthen your appeal to employers in this new field. A targeted resume can pull out the most pertinent pieces of the first phase of your career and piece them together in a way that is transferable to your desired role. It allows you to reposition your background effectively and make a case for your suitability despite a lack of direct experience.
Demonstrate your ability to meet specific requirements.
While many job postings list a set of general qualifications, others demand specific experience or skills to prove an applicant’s suitability for the role. These may include industry certifications or familiarity with a specific workforce software, and you can use a targeted resume to indicate your ability to meet these requirements long before you have the opportunity to in an interview. This not only backs up your qualifications, but also shows potential employers a sincere interest in the role and demonstrates that they’re not simply the target of a resume blast.
Building a Targeted Resume
A targeted resume is like a bee: it only gets one sting. Once you’ve used a targeted resume to apply to a job, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to use it again for a different application on account of the specificity that tailored the resume to the previous application. In this sense, a targeted resume is like a cover letter. Done well, it’s a valuable asset for an individual role when you want to put your best foot forward.
Because a targeted resume is only useful for one application at a time, you don’t want to have to build one from scratch each time you apply for a job. It’s much easier to modify an existing general resume and tailor it to each application, highlighting different experiences or skills as needed. In this way, a well-written general resume serves as a canvas that you can easily paint on top of to craft the unique professional image you want to convey to each individual employer. Then, the most time-consuming part of your job hunt isn’t resume writing, but researching potential employers and positions to determine how best to demonstrate your fit and competence for the role in question, which is where you want your time to be spent.
Thus, an up-to-date general resume is an essential part of your job search portfolio, since it builds the foundation that lets you highlight specific skills as you apply for each position. This makes crafting a targeted resume a simpler process, and will allow you to really shine in a competitive job market. At Zoetic Resume and Writing Services, I can help you format your general resume and teach you the skills you need to customize it for each employer. Connect with me here to get started!