How To Create A Resume That An Employer Won't Miss

We all have our resume on file, and most of us blindly send it out to a job opening without even editing it. Most of us, sadly, don't get the job. By tailoring your resume to match the company, you can increase your chances of getting an interview and getting the job.

Sending your resume to a potential employer is like saying a prayer: you have no idea what the odds are, but you hope against hope that something will go in your favor. With many big name companies, though, thousands of applications are received for every one open position. To make matters worse, many of these large corporations now use computer screening to weed out the majority of applications. So how do you create a resume that gets you in the door, at the very least?

The first step is to closely read the job description. Consider those few paragraphs to be clues as to how to get an interview. Generally, the job description alludes to three important factors in the hiring process: what the company will expect from you in the future, what they want you to have done in the past, and what qualifications you need to have at this moment.

These clues should be the outline of your resume. Since you always begin your resume with your most recent employment or skills, the first thing the employer will see is what you are doing at your present job. He or she wants to know if you can take these skills and apply them to the open position in the future. With this parameter in mind, figure out what the company is looking for. Use the job description as your starting point and then supplement what you know with information from the company's website. For example, one job duty may be to "develop and implement internal and external public relations/communications strategies."

Okay, so in this job, you would need to know what the company does and how the company wants to tell the public about it. But what kind of messages will you need to communicate? If you go to the company's website, you can learn not only what field they are in, but what the precise competitive advantage is. Every company has things or products or ethics they are proud of - the key is to learn what they are. Once you figure out what makes the company different from its completion (and why, in theory, it is better) you can begin to make your resume the picture of who the company wants to hire.

Now it is time to think hard about what you have done in the past that sounds like what this company needs. If the company you are applying to is proud of its commitment to developing drugs for the elderly (instead of, say, pediatric medicines), focus on that angle. If you are applying for a job in communications, what experience do you have with publications whose demographic is the elderly? If you are applying for a job in marketing, what campaigns have you worked on that have targeted the elderly? A research position? Do you have any history with other geriatric drugs or studies?

Let's say the company also differentiates itself from its competitors by its near-spotless record of safe drugs. Needless to say, maintaining good public opinion isn't easy and takes a very concerted effort from everyone in the company. Again, what have you done in the past that sounds similar to this type of effort? Have you worked with a company that needed some crisis control in terms of their media relations? Have you developed a drug that encountered some controversy, and did you have a role in the aftermath? The point is to focus on your past experiences that match the company's points of pride/competitive advantage.

After doing your research and mentally matching up your history to what the company is looking for, it's time to tailor your resume. Since the potential employer is looking to see if what you have done in the past can translate into a good future with Company X, you need to spell it out in your resume. Begin with your most recent or current employment, and summarize what you have done in bullet points. Don't overlook important tasks just because they may not fit the job description, but be sure to bold what fits with their points of pride. Bold, bold, bold, and be specific about those matching points of pride! The more specific you can be, the better it looks to your potential employer. List names clients you have worked with that would be familiar to Company X, or give names of projects or brands you have worked on. Do not simply say, "Created a campaign to garner interest in issues." Instead, say, "created a campaign for Geriatric Inc to garner a 50% feedback rate on Medicare hot buttons, such as"¦" The more the employer can visualize what you actually did, the more impressed he or she will be.

So far, you have learned what the company wants the future employee to by reading the job description. You took your matching skills and paired them with the company's competitive advantage or point of pride in order to look like an even better candidate. Now, you need to assure them that you have the basic skills required for the job. These types of skills usually aren't acquired in prior jobs, but they are more like degrees, classes or languages. For example, if a company is looking for someone who speaks French and Spanish, you probably didn't learn that in your cubical. Instead, you took a class or have your degree in those languages. The same is true for a skill like Quark or any sort of certification. The bottom of your resume is the place to list these skills. And, again, be sure to bold the skills you have that specifically match the ones they mentioned in the job description.

Of course, always proofread your resume as a last step and be sure to include your contact information. By now, you have a sheet of paper that lists your prior jobs and experiences, with the most recent being first on the list. Under each entry, you have bulleted the most important skills or duties, and you've bolded the ones that specifically match what the company is looking for. You've even incorporated key words from the job description, and you have been very specific and used names of clients or campaigns whenever possible. Not only do you look like an ideal candidate, but you've already done a lot of research for the interview that you are sure to get.

© High Speed Ventures 2011