1. Target Job Title. A resume cannot be all things to all people. It needs to focus on a specific job and carry a target job title, coming right after contact information ( 80% of resumes lack this and start instead with a Job Objective); your email address should be hyperlinked. Recruiters use the target job title in database searches and using one helps your resume be pulled for review by a hiring manager, and the title then gives the hiring manager an immediate focus.
2. Sell to the customer’s needs. Don’t sell what you think are your strong points in a resume, find out what the customers (hiring manager) want to buy. Do a Target Job Deconstruction (TJD) on 6 job postings to determine how employers prioritize their needs, and the words they use to describe them. Recruiters search resume databases using the approved job title and the words used in the job description. By doing TJD you know what skills employers value in this job, how they prioritize them and the words they are likely to use in database searches: in short you have a template for the story your resume must tell.
3. Replace Job/Career Objective (no one cares what you want), with Performance Profile. Managers do performance reviews on all employees every year so the phrase has immediacy and relevance. Beneath the heading address the heart of what you do in your professional work: Take the first 4-5 priorities from your TJD and turn them into short sentences running no more than five lines.
4. Core Competencies. Follow the Performance Profile with a Core Competency section. This contains all the words and phrases that were used in the job postings to describe your work (example: A/P, A/R, Quarterly P&L). List all the words and phrases that apply to you in columns; then repeat the words in the context of each of the jobs where they were applied, this way you get to use keywords that will be used by recruiters as search terms at least once and possibly two or three times; this will improve your database ranking. A hiring manager will read Core Competency section as headlines for all the skills you can talk about.
5. Together, a Target Job title, Target Job deconstruction, Performance Profile and Core Competency section pack all the information into the first half page of your resume, to improve its database performance and to tell any recruiter or hiring manager of your ability and suitability for the job. This opening to a resume tells any reader you can do the job and you “get” what is truly important.
© 2011 Martin Yate, CPC, author of Knock ‘em Dead: Secrets & Strategies for Success in an Uncertain World
Martin Yate, CPC, author of Knock ‘em Dead: Secrets & Strategies for Success in an Uncertain World, is a New York Times and international bestseller of job search and career management books. He is the author of 11 job search and career management books published throughout the English speaking world and in over 50 foreign language editions. Over thirty years in career management, including stints as an international technology headhunter, head of HR for a publicly traded company and Director of Training and Development for an international employment services organization.
Within the profession he has a global reputation as the thought leader on job search and career management issues. He has lectured on four continents and has maintained a coaching practice since 1991.
The current recession is the 5th he has helped people navigate over the last 30 years.