Do I need to create a résumé to target a specific job?

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People frequently ask me to write a résumé to target a specific job. While some believe this is a viable strategy, it can be a very risky and expensive proposition. Unless a person has had two distinct careers and corresponding experience, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to do this.

The truth is, our story is our story. Our history is our history. When I write for people, I ask them what kind of position they want to pursue at this point in their career. What do they most want to do with that history. Then we collaboratively create bullets that establish relevance between where they are and where they wish to be. We accentuate the segments of their experience that can help a potential employer see them in the role they now wish to play. I have found this to be much more successful than trying to create a résumé to target a specific job by providing only a microscopic view of their experience and talents.

Once we have articulated their story in a résumé, I write cover letters that target the individual opportunities that they seek. The cover letter is really the rudder to the ship, and from that perspective, we get the opportunity to tell our audience what a client wishes to do with their experience, and how it can be of value to them. When we do that, we give the employer the advantage that one might have in reading a whole book verses one chapter. We represent our client in a third-dimensional view with a focus on their transferable skills. But we must show those skills in action, not in theory. Employers don’t want to hire theoretically-capable candidates. They want to hire proven talent.

The reality is that the more your audience knows about you, the more they can see your skills and talents through an accomplishment lens, the more likely they are to interview you and explore your value as a viable candidate.

With a few rare exceptions I find this a more realistic, cost-effective, and successful approach to the expensive multi-resume alternative. Tailoring résumés for specific jobs can be an overly costly proposition.

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