Does Your Resume Emphasize the Wrong Things?
A client called me recently for an update on his resume. In the past, he had worked as a second-in-command in Human Relations at various colleges and now he was eager to transition into a higher level job with a company outside the educational sector. He wondered if his resume could be honestly updated to give him a better chance of a corporate interview.

When your resume lags behind your career goals, recruiters and hiring managers have difficulty in figuring out just where you will fit in their organization. You have to show them that you have the skills, experience, education, and achievements that they want. You can do this in three ways.

First, carefully read advertisements and job postings to find out the keywords that are most commonly used in the field and position you are interested in. For example, my client’s old educational resume included many keywords related to community relations and youth. We instead emphasized keywords in his experience that were more suitable for a corporate environment, such as experience with HIPAA, workers’ compensation, and unions.

Second, review the list of achievements on your resume and reorder them to give prominence to the ones that most closely match the achievements an employer or recruiter would look for in your goal position. For example, my client’s new position would require more leadership skills, so we made sure to emphasize his achievements as a leader in committees and as a board chair in volunteer organizations.

Third, adjust your profile to match expectations for any applicant for that job. In the case of my client, we removed from his profile information about curriculum development and academic counseling and instead emphasized his experience dealing with Human Resources laws and practices, as well as his ability to communicate at all levels of an organization.

A change in emphasis reflects the multiple skills we all have. Recruiters and hiring managers need to know that you fit their needs and they will not go hunting through your resume for the information; you need to tell them clearly.