Is Your Resume a Historical Document?

By; Debra Wheatman, Careers Done Write

One of the first questions that I ask a new client is, “What is your career goal?”  Some clients tell me that they do not have a specific goal and ask me why that is important.  If you do not have a goal, how can you write a focused résumé?  You can’t.   A résumé that is not based on a goal is a résumé without a purpose. It will be an historical document and not the marketing tool that is necessary to obtain an interview.

In the past, résumés were mainly a list of jobs, duties, education, and training. Times have changed.   Today’s résumé must highlight skills and accomplishments relevant to the job goal.  When a hiring manager reads a résumé, they should think, “Wow, this candidate is the perfect match!”  If you have broad-brushed résumé, you may appeal to some employers.  However, the candidate who has a laser-focused résumé will be on the “A-list” for the first interview invitations.

Most of us are multi-faceted, multi-talented individuals.   We may be an excellent match for many job types.  Do you have to limit yourself to one job type when you are in the job market?  Absolutely not!   You can explore multiple career paths simultaneously.  However, you cannot do it with one résumé.  Create a new version for each career path by modifying the profile section of your résumé.  The profile is the opening summary paragraph that puts the entire résumé into context. This is your opportunity to share unique special qualities and experience that make you the ideal candidate. 

Is your résumé an historical document or a powerful marketing tool to generate new opportunities?  Take the test below and see how you rate! 

I have a headline and a profile at the top of my résumé. It includes skills and knowledge relevant to one of my career goals.

Add 10 points

I have a résumé for each one of my major career goals

Add 10 points

To be sure I covered all of my job duties, I copied and pasted my job description onto my résumé.

Subtract 10 points

I don’t have a goal so I don’t pigeon-hole myself and miss an opportunity. 

Subtract 10 points

I have highlighted major accomplishments relevant to my goal.

Add 10 points

It is best to include as much as possible so that I will appear to be the most knowledgeable about the widest range. I want to be a jack-of-all-trades.

Subtract 10 points

I have researched my target career to help me uncover things from my history that I can include on my résumé and also skills I need to acquire.

Add 20 points

If you have 50 points, I applaud you!  If you have less than 30 points, please consider using some of the tactics from this article to revise your job search and résumé development strategy. 

Debra Wheatman is the president of Careers Done Write and an AMA Career Resource Center contributor. Read more from Debra here or follow her on twitter at @DebraWheatman.