New Graduate Resume – General Vs Targeted Resume?

Back in the good ol’ days (when campus recruiters were snatching up college graduates with barely a glance at their resumes), most kids could get by with a general resume. Some grandiose but meaningless objective, education section, bunch of clubs and affiliations, and a promise of personal references. Bye bye good ol’ days.

Today’s job market dictates a different kind of resume. If a job seeker wants to compete, even if that job seeker is fresh out of college with a spanking new diploma, the resulting resume had better be a targeted resume.

What is a Targeted Resume?

A targeted resume is a resume that matches up a candidate’s qualifications with the specific requirements of a specific job. It’s written to showcase those skills and experiences most relevant to that one opportunity. Each new job position to which the candidate applies will require a new targeted resume, customized appropriately.

Should All New Graduates Be Writing Targeted Resumes?

No, not all. Only those new grads who want jobs. If that sounds rough, it’s simply a reflection of the new economic reality. In the aftermath of – and slow recovery from – the worst recession since the 1930’s, your resume is competing fiercely with any number of equally-qualified candidates. If you want to be the one called in for job interviews, your resume must first make it through several rounds of screenings. Those resumes that are targeted toward the job opening in question improve their chances of getting that phone call. Those resumes of olden days (i.e. those good ol’ one-size-fits-all resumes) will still come in handy – to start the fires that heat the cans of soup that feed the graduates who refuse to go to the trouble to write targeted resumes.

Step-By-Step to a Targeted Resume

1 – Begin by writing a ‘master’ or core resume. Throw everything at it that you can think of. Every positive trait, attribute or personal characteristic you’ve got that might come into play in a work environment. Every job, no matter how seemingly insignificant. Every club or association to which you were ever a member, especially if you held a leadership role. Line up brief descriptions of the most relevant college courses. Don’t worry about the length of this thing – nobody will see it but you.

2 – Working from that master resume, spin off a targeted resume as needed. To do this, first make a copy of the master (so you don’t lose it), then take that copy and begin eliminating everything that’s not applicable to the position to which you’re applying. Chop chop.

3 – Tweak what you’re left with. If you know the title of the job opportunity, put that title directly into your objective statement (if you’re using one). If you elect not to use an objective statement, put the title of the job opportunity directly into your profile or summary section (and you’d better be using one of these). Use the balance of your profile section to redirect your personal and professional qualifications, your skill set, and any achievements so they point naturally toward the job in question. Drive home the point that you are the right person for this particular job.

Finally, go through the balance of your resume, refocusing any past job(s) from which you acquired skills that could transition to your objective. And focusing your education toward the objective (e.g., mentioning a minor area of studies, if relevant, or even specific courses).

4 – Your master resume could be a sloppy two, three or four pages long. Your targeted resume doesn’t have that luxury. Whittle down the targeted resume to a single page.

That’s it. Now repeat that process for each new job opportunity you uncover. And repeat, and repeat ad nauseam. Customize each spin-off resume – targeted resume – as you apply to individual job openings.

The New Graduate – Shining

The targeted resume is work, certainly. But it presents an opportunity for you to shine in the face of your competition. Shine often enough, and you’ve got your job.

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