How-to Write A Targeted Resume

When you submit your resume to an employer, you have just seconds to seize their attention and convey to them exactly how you would fit in their company structure and add value to their organization.

While you may think you are opening new opportunities to yourself by using a general/broad resume, the truth is that if you are using a broad resume, you are likely doing yourself a huge disservice and losing out on the opportunity to get interviews for jobs that you are truly interested in.

Resume readers are lazy (okay, “lazy” might be a little harsh–but YOU try to review a stack of 200 resumes and see how long they keep YOUR attention) and when you send them an unfocused resume it forces them to think and to try to figure out the best position for you.

Do you honestly think they will make the effort? Of course not. It is always in your best interest to focus your resume as a properly targeted resume will generate a much higher response rate.

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But What Do I Do If I Have Multiple Job Targets?

At this point, you are probably thinking the same thing we hear from many client–you are interested in different types of jobs and so it is essential you have a general resume. Otherwise, how will you be able to apply for all the different types of positions?

The solution, in some cases, is as simple as creating multiple versions of your resume, each targeting a different focus area.

As an example, look at these four modern resumes that we created for one of our clients: Samantha Jobseeker.

Samantha had a very varied and diverse employment history when she came to us, supplemented by lots of volunteer work, international mission work, and two not-quite-finished college degrees. She was ready to get herself on a career track, and she had come to us with this goal in mind. However, like many people she was qualified for an interested in a variety of positions. After a lot of consultation, we were able to narrow these interests down to four major categories:

  1. Communications and Customer Service
  2. Real Estate Development
  3. Nonprofit Management
  4. Any position in a purpose-driven organization with global implications.

When possible, we believe the best solution is usually the simplest one. As you can see from these example resumes (click on them to see them as full-size PDFs), each is very targeted. But, at the core they are essentially the same resume. We simply shifted the focus by changing the top section of the resume, then by making subtle changes in the way we categorized and displayed the body content.

Example Targeted Resume for Communications

Example targeted resume for communications and customer service

Example Targeted Resume for Real Estate

Example targeted resume for real estate development

Example Targeted Resume for Nonprofit

Example of a targeted resume for nonprofit work

Example of targeted resume

Example of targeted resume for work in a purpose-driven organization

*** NOTE: A resume prepared in this functional format is not applicant tracking system (ATS) friendly. If you believe your resume will be entered into an ATS, a more traditional reverse chronological format resume may be your best option.

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