by sysop in Applying for a Job
by Daniel Klaeren
In preparing for a new job search, the average job seeker will put together a resume that includes a laundry list of skills, education, work experience, achievements and awards. Then, as job openings of interest arise, that’s the time to send in an application with the generic resume attached. Sounds pretty normal, right?
What’s wrong with the “here’s my whole life on a sheet of paper” approach? Most likely, some of your skills and experience will bear no relevance to the position for which you are applying. In any job you have held, you most likely had to complete dozens of different tasks. Listing all of them will simply bore or even confuse the hiring manager. Your resume is not just a chance for the hiring manager to get to know you, but a way to showcase how you can add value to a specific organization or company in a specific role. You don’t want to waste precious space listing skills that are irrelevant to the position or hide the relevant skills among the unimportant ones.
Of course, many pieces of your resume will remain the same regardless of the position you apply for – but the most room to customize exists in the description beneath each past job or internship.Don’t be that average job seeker. Instead, learn to customize your resume to the role that you are trying to fill. This is not done by lying or in any way misrepresenting your ability, but rather by applying a higher standard of selectivity when crafting your resume. For each resume you create, there is a standard of discernment that you will always want to meet: does what I am sending have relevancy to the particular position?
Case in point: Suppose you completed a college internship at a law firm but are now applying for a customer service position at a call center. Listing your experience researching case law and your familiarity with legal databases may sound nice, but it isn’t going to tell a hiring manager how you can benefit his company. Did you communicate at all with clients? Did you use a multi-line phone? Did you have to work through stressful situations with a team? These are the kinds of skills that the call center manager may want and that you may have but he won’t know that unless you show him.
Don’t make hiring managers guess whether or not your past work experiences are in some way transferable to an open position (they won’t bother). Seize the opportunity. Take the time to show them by tailoring each resume for the job that you want.