Targeting your resume to the job you're applying for will greatly enhance your appeal to the hiring company and significantly increase your chances for an interview. Deliver facts about your accomplishments, examples of your successes and personal attributes, and make it clear you understand the job requirements. Focus your resume on who you are, what you've done and your potential. Then you will have your best shot at getting the interview and the job. Here are steps to follow to get that interview:
List job tasks: On a sheet of paper, identify the tasks of the job from the ad, job title and job description. Check out the company's website to understand what they do, the product or service they provide and equipment they use. List the skills the job requires, such as framing a home, driving a diesel forklift, cold calling prospective clients, word processing at 70 words per minute or filing legal briefs. Next list the experience required by the job such as "five years of residential home building," "MS Office Excel mastery" or "BS degree in civil engineering."
Match your skills: Next, check those items where your skills and experience meet or exceed the job requirements. If you don't find an exact match, don't despair, as the company may still see you as the best fit. And you may wow them at the interview with your ability to be trained, your dedication or some other related skills.
Give examples: Give facts and specific achievements on your resume whenever possible. If you have skills with different tools, software or have participated in a team project, identify your training, proven abilities and experience as a leader or team member. If you won a company award, explain what you did. Identify ideas you proposed that saved money, workplace safety awards, productivity and even attendance recognition that may peak interest in how you did and what you did.
Paint your picture: Use action words that tell a story. Rather than "managed" and "supervised," you "led a five-person project on (task here) for six months"; "doubled sales to new clients over the prior quarter," and "saved company (amount here) in transportation costs." Graphic images such as these would certainly stimulate their interest in you.
Identify positive personality traits: List the traits that the job candidate requires such as leadership, enthusiasm and dedication. If the job is for a team leader, identify a successful project you led that finished on schedule and on budget. If the job candidate requires customer or client service skills, identify instances where you provided care and patience. Point out if you were recognized by a letter, certificate or just praise from a supervisor. Give positive events that show your character.
Add key words: Now add words and phrases to your resume to emphasize your skills, experience and personal traits that best match the job requirements. Use words from the company's ad such as "MS Office Excel" or "Powermatic drill press," as many companies search resumes online and query specific terms in thousands of resumes. As you describe your work experience, keep the language simple. If you use government acronyms and terminology, you may need to explain them. Remember that acronyms and technical jargon are used in Internet searches, so include them.
Keep your integrity: Most HR personnel will call your previous employers and references to verify your work history and references. Don't embellish or exaggerate. Let your references know that you applied for a job and who may be calling them. Most importantly, ensure your resume matches and supports your skills, experience and personal traits and be ready to discuss them at your interview.
Compose your objective: The final tweak is to revise the "Objective" statement at the top of your resume. Once you determine what job you prefer, write one sentence to identify your desire to work in that job or area where you are skilled and how you welcome challenges and opportunities to use and improve those skills. Now that you've given focus and direction to your resume, it's time to aim that resume at the target.
Ready, aim, fire: Compose a simple cover letter addressed to the Human Resources department or a company executive identifying the job you want and the skills and experience you would bring to the company. If possible, personalize your letter by associating yourself with a benefit to the company such as being familiar with the service area, having worked in the industry or even living near the company. Keep it simple and direct.
Robert Bellucci is managing director and partner of Davron Staffing and Irv Dupre is its chief operating officer. The Tampa-based firm recruits executives and technical experts in engineering, architecture, geology, finance and accounting, information technology and related technical support to meet their local, national and international client companies' needs. Go to www.davron.net for more information.