Is Lack of Focus Dragging Your Resume Down?

by Holbrook Hernandez, Jessica Tuesday, November 17, 2009
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How many of you can honestly say you know exactly what you want to be when you grow up? Maybe you already have it figured out, and maybe you are already living and working it. If you are, does your resume know that?

I work with clients every day and speak to hundreds of job seekers every week that have no idea what they want to do. I ask “Well, what do you want to do?” Then I receive the blanket “I just need to feed my family” or “I just need a job – I don’t care what it is.”

I understand the current market and economy, but folks no direction or focus for your career and job search is going to get you nowhere fast. When I look at your resume the first three seconds I’m there I need to know who you are, what you do, and why you’re good at it.

- I cannot find out those three things from an objective.
- I cannot find that information in a generic and vague career summary.
- I will not spend my time searching through an entire resume or reading all the way down to the work experience section before I can finally see what you did in your last job. Might I also add, that what you did in your last job does not necessarily tell me what you want to do in your next job.

Here are some practical tips to ensure your resume has a focus:

1. Ask yourself what you want to do.
When you can answer that question look at the first third of your resume and ask yourself can I tell what I want to do? If you can’t, you need to make some changes.

2. Spell it out for the hiring manager. Make it BIG, BOLD, and EASY TO READ. A title and one-liner works great. You are nailing the three big questions in two sentences at the very top: who you are, what you do, and what you are good at.

3. Brand it! Make you personal brand (you know that thing you are really good at) permeate throughout your resume. SHOW the employer exactly how you’ve done that great thing you’re known for at each and every employer.

4. Make everything in your resume revolve around the position you apply to. Generic will get you nowhere fast, a customized and focused resume shows the employer you really want the job, you’re qualified, and you are focused.

If you have really great expertise in more than one area THERE IS NO LAW THAT SAYS YOU CAN ONLY HAVE ONE RESUME. Create more than one resume and have each focused in a different area of expertise. Communicate the value you bring in each area and what you are known for and how you excel.

You can either spend a little more time customizing each resume before you send off to a potential employer or you can spend more time in your job search because you’re blasting out generic resumes. Personally, I’d rather show the employer that I’m interested and that I go the extra mile. Hiring managers will weed out the generic resumes and go straight for the focused resumes built around their open position.

There is too much competition right now people to be skating by on a generic resume.