Does this sound familiar? You’re excited to job hunt, so you settle in at your desk to update your résumé. You start to look over the document and realize you have so much to add. Quickly, the document is over two pages, and you’re still anxiously trying to include everything you’ve done in the last two years.
So many of my clients get bogged down in trying to perfectly sum up their entire work history in their résumés, but all employers want to see is relevant experience. Here are three lists to create to help you do that in less time, and with less stress:
1. A Job Title List
Even if you want to search for the same type of job you have now, job titles have gotten incredibly diverse in recent years. Go to your favorite job search engine and enter your job title (indeed.com or LinkedIn work well), then see what comes up. List the most common, and any new titles you’re seeing. Consider incorporating these terms into your document.
2. A Keyword List
While you’re on that job board, copy and paste the language from a few relevant job ads into a word cloud web site like tagcrowd.com to see which words or phrases are coming up. Then do the same to your current résumé. Are you seeing a match, or are there some words you should include more often? Here are a few more tips on how to do this.
3. A List of Employers
With any writing, you need to know your audience. This goes for résumé and cover letter writing, too. Who do you want to work for? Create a list of 20-30 employers in your region who you would consider dream employers. What type of language do they use to describe their work?
For instance, Amazon recently had a career day in DC, where thousands lined up. One way to stand out and show you’re a good fit? Speak their language. On their career page, Amazon is clear about its mission: to be the most customer-centric company on Earth. Customer-focused language should be a part of any application to that company, then.
Armed with these three lists, you can do a much better job of revising your résumé with your future job in mind. Update it with all your recent accomplishments, of course, but use the other steps to inform your writing.
You may have noticed what I didn’t mention — listing everything you’ve ever done on a master document or being “open to a wide range of opportunities.” This can feel productive, but beware trying to be all things to everyone. If you think about it, when does that ever work out in life? Instead, focus on your specific goals, and you’ll create a résumé that stands out because it’s not generic. It’s tailor made for the right employer.
Can you think of other things that should be on the list? Jump in with a comment!