The most productive résumés start with a clear focus on the target job, and look at its responsibilities from the point of view of the selection committee. Let’s start Target Job Deconstruction to determine the proper focus for your job-targeted resume:
Step One. Collect 6-10 job postings of the job you are best qualified to do. Save them in a folder and also print them out. Not sure where to start? Try www.indeed.com, it’s a job aggregater (or spider) that runs around thousands of job sites looking for jobs with your chosen keywords.
Step Two. Create a new MSWord doc and title it TJD for Target Job Deconstruction.
Start with a first subhead reading JOB TITLE, then copy and paste in all the variations from your samples. Looking at the result you can say, “when employers are hiring people like me they tend to describe the job title with these words.”
This will help you to come up with a suitable Target Job Title for your resume. Coming right after your name and contact information, this helps your resume perform well in resume database searches and acts as a headline giving human eyes an immediate focus.
Step Three. Add a second subhead titled
Look through all the print job postings across your desk for a single requirement that is common to all six of your job postings. Take the most complete description of that single requirement and copy and paste it (with a bullet) into your TJD doc; put a #6 by your entry to signify it is common to all.
Underneath this pasted entry add any other words and phrases from the other job postings used to describe this same area. Repeat this exercise for any other requirements common to all six of your job postings.
Step Four. Then repeat the exercise for requirements common to five of the jobs and then four and so on all the way down to those requirements mentioned in only one job posting.
When this is done you can look at your work and say, “when employers are hiring people like me they tend to refer to them by these job titles, they prioritize their needs in this way and use these words to describe them.”
Step Five. This step will get you focused on the very practical competency issues of interest to employers, it is information you might well use in an interview as well as in your resume.
For each of the prioritized requirements you identified in Steps Three and Four, identify the problems and challenges that arise when you are executing your duties in this area. Then for each problem challenge identify
- Examples of you successfully tackling such an issue
- Examples of tactics and strategies you employ to reduce the occurrence of such problems occurring in the first place.
Step Six. Looking again at the prioritized requirements you identified in Steps Three and Four, consider each individual requirement and recall the best person you have ever known doing that that aspect of the job.
Then identify what made that person stand out in your mind as a true professional; think of personality traits, perhaps he always had a smile, specific skill sets, perhaps she had good listening, critical thinking and time management skills.
Take the time to do this conscientiously and you will have a complete behavioral profile of the person every employer wants to hire, plus a behavioral blueprint for your future professional success. Consider the role of dress, body language, and social skills in your evaluation
Step Seven. Looking one last time at the prioritized requirements you identified in Steps Three and Four, consider each individual requirement and recall the worst person you have ever known doing that aspect of the job.
Then identify what made that person stand out in your mind as a failure: think of personality traits, perhaps he was passive aggressive; the lack of specific skill sets, perhaps she never listened, thought things through and was never on time with projects or for meetings. Consider the role of dress, body language, and social skills in your evaluation
Take the time to do this conscientiously and this time you will have a complete behavioral profile of the person no employer wants to hire, plus a behavioral blueprint for total professional failure.
Pulling it all together
The most productive résumé focuses on your professional experience, as it relates to your ability to deliver on the requirements of job you have targeted.
We now know the story your resume needs to tell to be maximally productive in the resume databases and when it eventually gets in front of those human eyes: we have the essential information and insight into your target job to give the right focus to your job-targeted resume.
We also have a comprehensive list of the keywords employers use when looking for someone with this job title. These descriptors can be used in the Core Competency section of your resume, and repeated in the body copy, placing them in the contexts were they were applied.
Now you are ready to start looking into your background and gathering the information for the story your resume need to tell.
Join Martin every week to learn more about writing a killer resume, getting more job interviews and turning job interviews into job offers at his free weekly webcast, Mondays at noon central. Details: http://my.knockemdead.com