Targeting Your Resume

Consider the layout

  • Many people are surprised to learn that resume layout may be just as important as content
  • Human resource research suggests that your resume has less than 20 seconds to make the right impression
  • It must be eye-catching and easy to read.  Fonts like Garamond, Times New Roman, Arial  and Helvetica are good bets
  • Avoid the MS Word resume template like the plague!  (Unless you want your resume to look just like everyone else’s.)

Write a short objective statement to address the job you are applying for

  • Keep the objective to one line if possible
  • Use the title of the job in your objective
  • Do not make this into a paragraph about your personal philosophical statement of your career thoughts or life goals.  Just tell the reader you want their job enough to identify it in your resume
  • Objective: A position (or internship) as a technical writer with a progressive software company.  (The job title is “technical writer” in this case
  • It’s OK to use a job number if the employer posts it with a number.  Don’t list the number used by a third-party system to identify the job

Create a section titled "Related Skills", "Skills & Qualifications" or something similar. List your skills and competencies related to the job you are applying for

  • A targeted resume should address the skills listed in a specific job posting you are applying for
  • Use the terminology used by the employer in the job posting.  Include as many of their key words as you can in your skills and employment history
  • Write your competency statements as if you are addressing them to the specific job you are applying for
  • Tell them you have done this before, you have coursework, or at least knowledge
  • Put the competency statements in functional groupings within sub-headings such as “Financial Skills”, “Computer Skills”, “Technical Skills”…
  • In each sub-heading, write brief, one-line statements that start with “action verbs” whenever possible
  • These statements may be listed with bullets in front

Other rules for targeted resumes

  • Your Employment History section should be included after the “related skills” section
  • Your Employment History section should list the employer’s (company or organization) name, position held (your title) and a one or two-line description of your main responsibilities for each job. Include start and end dates (month & year).  Your history should be listed most recent first
  • You should keep the descriptive terminology in your work history to a minimum unless the job has direct relevancy to the job you are applying for.  (You don’t need detail on irrelevant jobs.)
  • Unless you have extensive experience, keep your resume to one page. Never exceed two pages
  • Make sure to include your email in your contact information at the top.  Don’t use cutesy or questionable terminology in your email. Get a new email address if needed for employment
  • If you don’t have an extensive work history, include sections on “Relevant Coursework” or “Volunteer Experience”
  • If you are just starting out and don’t feel you have much experience, include a section on your “Qualifications”.  These are general one-line statements on why you would be a good employee.  You can put them together in a bulleted list under the heading “Highlights of Qualifications”
  • A targeted resume should tell a prospective employer that you want their job and you have the skills, education and/or qualifications to do it
  • You should change the objective and skills to match each job