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The Advantages of a Tailored Resume

By Tom R. Arterburn


            When leading companies advertise to hire employees, it's not uncommon
for a firm to receive up to 1000 resumes from applicants.  Of those, maybe only
50 will be seriously considered.
            Such a high response rate for an attractive position isn't unusual in a

competitive job market.  That's why creating a tailored resume each time you

apply for a job is critically important; that's unless you want to be darting

back and forth from Kinkos every couple of weeks investing in paper and

matching envelopes.

            A tailored resume is designed around the specific needs of the company

you're contacting.  While the basic information remains the same, you should

adapt your objective statement, career capabilities summary and other

relevant sections to tie them directly to the open position.  Hiring managers

agree that resumes addressing their exact specifications are rare and always

grab attention.

            "Only about 10% of [all] resumes actually provide the information

necessary for a hiring manager to make a decision about a candidate," said

Denise Foy, president of Adlab, a Chicago-based high-tech recruiting firm.  

"In this age of word processing, there's no excuse for a insincere query."

            The proliferation of generic, mass-emailed or mass snail-mailed 

resumes has doomed many candidates.  Why? To combat the mountains of

generic resumes that arrive after an ad is placed, most hiring managers will

set up a specific qualifications criterion before they begin screening applicants.

This makes it extremely easy to weed out the unqualified, no matter how

much catchy terminology or creative wording they use.

            According to a corporate human resources director in Georgia, "If you

send me a resume and don't provide a clear objective as to what your

interests are, you'll go into a database that gets really large very fast.  

As a result, you get less exposure," she says.

            Here's How it Works

            When tailoring your resume, for a specific position, whether it's 

nursing, firefighter, law enforcement, physician, mechanic, police, federal 

government, sales, customer service, don't rush.  Gaining a jump on the 

competition requires some extra effort, which is summarized in the following

 six steps:

1. Research the prospective company.  Visit you local library's reference

section to dig out information on the firm's financial well-being, latest

innovations, new projects, top executives and related information.

2. With your research complete, start creating the resume by writing a 

concise and specific JOB OBJECTIVE. Remember, a generic statement that

allows you to distribute your resume widely won't make the impression you

need. Instead, opt for sincerity:  To apply my skills and experience as a 

sales manager for the Detroit territory of ABC Company.  Specificity and 

sincerity scores points!

3. Write a summary paragraph that highlights your professional background 

as it relates to the needs of the company.  If the position if for a sales 

manager, for example, highlight you motivational and leadership skills, 

and note how much sales improved under your guidance in previous 

positions.  If you want to keep your resume out of the "application morgue," 

this summary paragraph, like the job objective, should be revised every 

time you apply for a job.

4. When listing PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE, keep the information 

straightforward and concise.  When readers have hundreds of resumes to 

review, they're rarely impressed by intricate details of day-to-day job 


5. With all the effort expended up to this point, your inclination might be 

to simply list your degree and the name of your alma mater under the 

heading of EDUCATION, then look ahead to the cover letter.  This 

strategy might be effective, but only if the five or six other candidates 

you're neck-and-neck with in the selection process slack off as well.  To 

be on the safe side, it's better to forge ahead and list educational 

achievements, such as published papers, awards and titles, that relate to 

the interests of the company.

6. Finally, list any affiliations, memberships, biographical information or 

volunteer work that may relate to the employer's business.  For example, 

you may have found during your initial research that you and the potential 

employer share philanthropic or community service interests.

            Okay, this sounds like a lot of work doesn't it?  But isn't that what 

employers look for?  Hard Workers?

            Tom R. Arterburn is an award-winning job-search journalist and director

of The Resume Institute.


The Resume Institute
Since 1989

(618) 235-1303 or (314) 421-3857

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