Resume Writing Tips #4 & #5 – Write a Resume to Each Company; Sell Yourself as the BEST Candidate for A Specific Position
Part of an ongoing series of resume writing tips to be presented over the next 100 days.
by Todd Oldfield, 22 Year Recruiting Veteran,
WRITING A RESUME TO EACH COMPANY
Well, you happy job-seekers are going to think I am out of my mind when you read this one, but you have to trust me on what I say. Please do not email me with “Are you crazy? I don’t have the time.”
The topic today is one of “mind set” here. We are talking “image”. Our goal with this discussion is for a hiring authority to come to one conclusion after they scan your resume…
“This is the exact right candidate I am looking for, for the _______ job.“
Ok, so how we we get there? How do we stir such a reaction in a stranger, potentially far away, that has looked at our resume for no more than 45 seconds? We do two things;
- We do it by custom tailoring our resume to each company for which we wish to submit. No more “one resume fits all” (This theory kind of puts a damper on Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, HotJobs.com, and even LinkedIn.com).
- We do it by opening strong, specific, and making sure that “every word” on “every page” of our resume needs to back up a simple boast, “HIRE ME! I AM EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR.” This is our challenge.
We need to write resumes where each resume we email out is custom tailored to EXACT, SPECIFIC positions with EXACT, SPECIFIC companies (our audience). Yes. I know how much work that is. I get it obviously. I am saying to you that I want you to write your resume for one specific job. You may end up with 100 versions of your resume. That’s ok though.
Create a file folder on the desktop of your compute called “My Resumes” and save each resume as;
- Exceptional Candidate for Acme Widgets Company.doc
- Exceptional Candidate for ABC Manufactoring.doc
- Exceptional Candidate for Stellar Hospital.doc
IN TODAY’s EMPLOYMENT MARKETPLACE; No more writing a resume, posting it somewhere and expecting 100 offers to come in, based upon you telling only 1/2 the story as it pertains to the hiring authority. In these competitive times, where there are just too few jobs available to begin with, do you really want your resume reader to feel otherwise, to begin with? No. You have to WIN the job you want.
BEFORE YOU CAN TELL A STORY, YOU HAVE TO KNOW THE AUDIENCE
You have to tell the WHOLE story. This means you have to KNOW the whole story, too. You have to know exactly what your prospective employer is looking for in terms of an applicant. You have to know the “quantifiable” and “qualifiable” details too. Yes, you need to know the requirements of the position (the experience, licenses, education, certifications, training that they need for the role), but don’t forget about stuff like, what is their culture? What kind of person succeeds there, personality-wise? What was the last guy/gal like that held the position? What was their personality and background like? Where did the company get them?
Read the job description over and over again. Check other sites. Look everywhere; do your research. Read all you can about the company, the department, their track record, plans for the future. Think like your own boss. What would you be looking for in a candidate, for this specific job?
Also, be sure to be critical of them as well. Are they realistic about; qualifications, requirements, licenses, training, certifications, and compensation, and perks that they are offering? Try to come to a conclusion about just how marketable the position is. The more more marketable it is, the more candidates will be applying for the position, and the more work you will have to do to instill in their minds that you are the “exact right person for the job.”
If you can figure out what they are looking for (this one specific company with this one specific job), then you can go back and edit your resume so that it reads like you are EXACTLY what they are looking for.
NOTE: It’s worthwhile to note you need another folder on your desktop. It should read “Companies I Am Interested In” and within that folder create individual folders for each company to drop links, articles, documents, postings that you find about companies for which you wish to apply. This information will come back to help us later as we prepare for our interview with that company.
WRITING YOUR RESUME FOR A SPECIFIC COMPANY WITH A SPECIFIC POSITION IN MIND
So, step one is to figure out what they are looking for. Step two is to look your resume over with a critical eye. In it’s current state does it sell you as being the “exact right candidate for that one position”? Nah. Probably not.
Be honest with yourself always. ARE you the best candidate for that position? If not, do not apply. Find a position out there somewhere where you ARE the exact right candidate for the job.
If you think you might be however, what you are in fact saying is that really all your resume needs is some TWEAKING.
DISCLAIMER: “Tweaking a resume” NEVER means lying on a resume or over embellishing ones accomplishments.
Let me give you a list of items to check;
- Your “Objective, Goal, Summary” Section(usually at the top below your name block). Does it say something to the effect of;
“OBJECTIVE: To take my 15 years of ever increasing success and responsibility in sales management within the widget industry, and apply my talents to the role of General Sales Manager with Acme Widget company in their North Eastern Region.”
If it does not, it should. Be specific. Right off the bat we want the hiring authority or HR person with Acme Widget company to realize that you have the successful experience they seek and you are looking for a specific position in a specific geography with their specific company.
Get the psychology?
- Your Work Experience – Ok, so you have this 15 years of “ever increasing success and responsibility” experience within the industry. Right? Well, your work experience has to back that up. They need to see 15 years experience between your employment and under the position, where you put your responsibilities and accomplishments (You do that, right?), they should be able to see a clearly growing career of success and responsibilities. That’s what you promised them in your “Objective” statement. Right?
- Your Education, Certifications, Training, Licenses – Have to back up the fact that you are the “exact right person for this specific exact position.” If their posting said “Preferred: Would hold a current Ohio state RN License”, then forget the “preferred” and read that as “REQUIRED. You cannot be considered “the exact right person” if you do not have every preferred requirement the company asks for. This is FACT!
If you cannot say you are the “exact right candidate” then do not submit? If in looking at the position, researching it, finding out all you can find out about the company, you cannot write an HONEST resume that says that you are the best candidate for the job, then do not send it in. It makes no sense to. If the company is realistic in what they are looking for, then they will find a better candidate than you.
Submit only resumes to companies that you KNOW you are the “exact right candidate” for the position.
Till next time, as always, drop me a line if this helps.