One More Time: Target and Customize Your Job Search
Looking for a job is hard work and writing or updating the resume for most of us is a daunting task that overwhelms and frustrates even the best writers at times.
I believe in targeted resumes, and although you can find more comprehensive and complicated explanations of this term on the net, I always tell my clients that a resume is nothing else than a reply, an answer to a question or even better an offer to a demand. Let’s see the following example: it is winter time and it is not too late to go for your flu shot. You assume the pharmacy or the doctor’s office would have a stock of flu vaccines around this time of the year for obvious reasons. To your surprise, they don’t have the flu shots but they offer you a quite impressive assortment of vaccines for tropical diseases. Hmmm… You are impressed, all right, but they did not address or solve your issue in any way. This is when you go to the next pharmacy that will hopefully answer your demand. Now, replace your person with the business in need of a particular qualification and the pharmacies with the job seekers. The ones that will address the requirements in the particular job posting will get the recruiter’s attention while the others will definitely land into the “NO” pile.
It is easier to preach “targeting” than to put it in practice, especially when using popular sites like LinkedIn. I use LinkedIn and I think it adds value to other aspects of our professional life and even to some parts of a job search. Unfortunately it works against the concept of “targeted” anything. Let me explain. As you all know, on LinkedIn there is only one profile that you can show the world and attract potential employers with. The problem here is that even when you target one specific job with one specific job title, the job descriptions coming from different companies are extremely diverse. Each company has their unique needs, their own organization chart and their own interpretation of a position.
Let’s take as an example the Office Manager position. Some companies need an accounting background more than administrative experience, others human resources more than accounting and some others need simple reception and public relations, or more recently web design and content management. And these are only a few examples. Assuming that somewhere on your LinkedIn profile you may have touched on every aspect, experience and credentials to match the jobs (and fortunately you are using Skills in your advantage) it will still take a very dedicated Recruiter to read your entire profile and look for the particular skills needed.
Other sites, Monster for example, allow the job seeker to post up to 5 different resumes. Who needs 5 resumes and how difficult it is to manage? Not that difficult at all! Choose functional or skills based resumes. The advantages of this kind of resume is that it allows you to highlight the skills and experience relevant to the job posting that you are replying to without letting the recruiter be distracted by job titles or years and other “details”. The 7 seconds a recruiter spends on a resume will be skillfully drawn towards learning about the skills. And yes, you need all 5 resumes. Change them according to the job posts you are replying to, change them to reflect the career you are aiming for.