While professional resume writing theories change over time, a comment commonly heard from job seekers is that professional resume writing should always mirror the job advertisement. While in theory that idea makes sense, does it ultimately make you the most viable candidate across the broadest range of opportunities?  Let’s take a look.

Professional resumes are marketing documents for the candidate in question.  A professional resume should be designed to highlight specific skills, accomplishments and experiences directly related to the candidate, not necessarily to the position.  If you start producing and submitting professional resumes that mirror each individual job description you apply to, a few significant issues will most likely arise.

  • You will be spending a significant amount of time writing resumes for each position.  Do you have that time?
  • You will either intentionally or unintentionally try to make your experiences fit the position as opposed to the position fitting you.   Why waste your time applying to positions for which your qualifications may not be the best fit.  If the position doesn’t fit you, do you really want the position anyhow?
  • By painting yourself as a “Jack of all Trades” you portray an overall skill set that is common to many candidates.  The idea is not to be a common candidate but an exceptional candidate.
  • Even if your “Jack of all Trades” professional resume gets you an interview, now you need to explain to the interviewer how all of these varied skills have been applied during your work history and how each of them will apply to the position in question.  If you cannot definitively match all of the skills listed on your professional resume with the skill requirements in question, chance are slim that you will ultimately be the successful candidate.

The question now becomes, how do I optimize my professional resume to become a viable candidate across the widest range of opportunities.  In my 23 years of experience, my recommendations are:

  1. Identify two or three specific job types that interest you
  2. Go online and pull down job descriptions from those job types
  3. Identify similar skill sets and requirements from those descriptions
  4. Match your skill sets, experiences and accomplishments against those requirements
  5. Incorporate those key elements within multiple areas of your resume including the Summary Section, the Areas of Expertise section and under the individual job descriptions
  6. When possible, incorporate quantifiable elements (sales increase figures, productivity increase figures, etc.) that support your experience claim

Based upon the recommendations above and if written properly, your professional resume should make you a marketable candidate across a wide variety of opportunities no matter what the job posting states.  Remember, a professional resume should be a marketing document about yourself, not a watered down summary of skills you think the reader wants to see.  By focusing on what makes you unique, you will separate yourself from the crowd and become a desirable candidate most employers will want to interview.

Action Resume Service is a 23 year old executive and professional resume writing and career development company serving a nationwide client base.  To learn more about executive and professional resume writing and career development services, visit www.actionresume.com or call us at 610-613-3907.