I’ve received countless e-mails from readers who say they’ve sent out hundreds of resumes and gotten little response. I always ask whether they’re sending out the same resume for each position. If that’s the case, resume expert Nathan Adams says, stop right now.
“Employers want the easy hire. They want to fit a round peg into a round hole and a square peg into a square hole,” Adams said. “Knowing this information, you need to look like the candidate that the employer wants to hire.”
He says sending the same resume for different openings is a recipe for failure. “A better strategy is to show the employer only the information that makes your case as the best candidate,” he said.
Adams asks his clients to focus on three areas.
First, replace the traditional “objective” area with a professional profile.
“It is similar to your elevator speech that you use when someone asks you what you do for a living,” Adams said. “The difference is that you want to answer this question through the filter of the position for which you’re applying.”
Next, focus on your core competencies. This is a list of six to 12 skills that can be easily tailored for each job. Look for keywords in the requirements section of the job posting and go from there.
Finally, spend some time ramping up the professional experience part of your resume. Again, try to focus on the accomplishments you’ve made that are relevant to the opening.
“If you are applying for a design engineering position, your resume needs to reflect accomplishments that speak to your design engineering skills, such as the use of computer-aided design, failure mode effects analysis and strength of materials,” Adams said.
The takeaway here is simple. A one-size resume does not fit all. Yes, all that tweaking is tedious, but if it helps you land an interview, then it’s time well spent.