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July 9, 2015
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July 17, 2015

Resumes are typically created with the goal of simply sharing past work experiences – but that target isn’t what makes a great resume.

A much more effective method is crafting a resume that markets experiences in a way that highlights how well one meets the particular requirements for a specific job opening – making it as easy as possible for a recruiter to see the similarities between you and the role they are trying to fill.

Before even beginning to write a resume – have an idea of the particular kind of position you want.  Not having a specific career path in mind makes it much more difficult to write about and target your experience in a specific way.  We recommend the Strong Interest Inventory assessment to provide insight into potential paths that match one’s particular interests if unsure about which career to pursue.

To show an example of what I mean by marketing past experiences towards a specific career path, listed below are tasks done by a fictional office manager:

  • Accurate maintenance and filing of 55 employment files
  • Oversee office efficiency and staff assignments, track attendance, and delegate appropriately
  • Effectively manage administrative staff through recruitment, hiring, training, and performance development

If this person was applying for another office manager position, it might be ok to have these tasks worded this way on a resume.  But – if this same person decided to seek an HR position instead, those duties would have more impact if worded this way:

  • Ensure compliance and appropriate record keeping in accordance with employment law for 55 employees
  • Accurately track attendance and administer employee leave benefits including FMLA, vacation, and sick time
  • Manage employee recruiting and retention practices including advertising jobs, interviewing, pre-employment screening, orientation, training, and performance reviews

Same tasks, same experience, but phrased instead from an HR perspective.

To figure out how you might need to rephrase your experience, look at a few of the advertisements for the kinds of positions you’re seeking and match up what you’ve done in the past with what you think might make you a good candidate for those roles.  Take and use similar words and phrases from those advertisements to write your experience framed around them on your resume.

Targeting your resume towards a specific career path gives you a better chance of hitting a recruiting bulls eye and getting that call for a first interview!

Catherine Schmidt
Catherine Schmidt
Catherine Schmidt is Purple Ink’s Director of Client Services and is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Catherine has a special interest in career coaching and recruiting and finds joy when she can connect the right person to the right opportunity.

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