Targeting your resume to focus on the specific skill sets that a potential employer is looking for can be tricky if you are a person with a wide variety of talents and job titles. If you fall into this category, never fear, as there are ways in which you can keep your resume focused on the position you are applying for. Below are some instances in which you might find yourself in, along with some tips on how to best tailor your resume in each situation.
Situation #1: You have an Associates or Bachelors Degree in your field, but no work experience.
The best way to approach writing a resume as a new graduate (or soon to be) is to include your education first, and compose this section as if it were a job. Go further in your explanation of your education by bullet pointing relevant projects that you worked on in school. While it is OK to list some of the relevant classes that you have taken, take it a step further by showcasing your knowledge and the work you actually did that is transferrable to on the job. Furthermore, if you have the syllabus for the classes you have taken, take a look at those and include the objectives that were covered in the course.
Situation #2: You have a varied work history and no related education.
The best way to address a varied work history is to use a functional resume format because it focuses on your skills and experience, rather than on your chronological work history. The skills section or summary of qualifications is where you will want to pull some of those keywords from the job description that relate to your experience. It is a good way to get your resume noticed by employers and recruiters especially. I do keyword searches all the time when I have a client searching for a specific skill, so I would say that this is one of the most important pieces of writing your resume. Be sure to list your strongest skills first.
Situation #3: You have held numerous contract jobs.
Having numerous contract jobs is not a bad thing. It can have a positive reflection on your work experience if your resume is prepared and tailored to the position because it shows flexibility, willingness, and ability to adapt yourself to new roles. What’s more, contract jobs are a great way to gain experience in a field you otherwise might not have worked in, opening up doors to new opportunities you otherwise wouldn’t have had.
Once you have your sights on a specific position, write a strong summary paragraph for the top of your resume that describes only those parts of your experience that relate to it. In the work experience section of your resume, list the most relevant position first and leave out any details that don’t relate. A functional resume would also be appropriate for this situation.
Whichever of these situations you find yourself in, the most important thing to remember is to focus your resume on each job at a time. Remember, quality above quantity. The more targeted your resume, the more likely you’ll be to land the interview, and more importantly, the job.
For tips on how to compose each part that is essential to a resume, see our Visual Guide to Writing a Resume.
QC Staffing is a division of The QC Group that works exclusively in the placement of Quality professionals. The division began in 1986 and has grown to serve all 50 US states and beyond. More information is at qcgroup.com/staffing
Quality Resource Specialist
The QC Group | QC Staffing
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Minnetonka, MN 55343
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