You only need one job: Develop an on-target resume
Dear Sam: I am struggling with my job search. As a business owner, I have spent the past 20 years doing everything and then some: from developing a business plan and securing funding, to washing the dishes and taking out the trash! How do I craft a resume that reflects that diversity? I am overwhelmed by the choices I have at this juncture in my career. Selling my business and planning on relocating to a new city, I am starting over and find myself drawn to a multitude of opportunities. How do I create a resume that reflects the diversity in my career, keeps my options open, and yet defines my value to a hiring manager? — Dave
Dear Dave: Superb question and one I hear from both business owners and others seeking a change after having enjoyed many years in one line of work. As a business owner, you are correct; there is likely nothing you have not done. You cannot, however, build a resume presenting yourself as someone who can do anything, as that will likely lead you to nothing. Hiring managers want to read targeted messages explaining who the candidate is, how he/she is qualified, and what level of value the candidate can contribute to the organization. If you do not know who that target market is, then you cannot possibly know how to communicate a message that will resonate with that audience.
Let’s take an example. If you were thinking of pursuing human resources or possible business development roles, how would you craft one message — and therefore one resume — that attracted both audiences? One hiring manager would want to know how you grew your business, he/she would expect to see your sales and profitability metrics, would want to know what you did to market and differentiate your product or service, and would be looking for a track record of success building pipelines and closing sales.
For the hiring manager seeking a human resources candidate, he/she would be looking at how you built your team, how you shaped your culture, what generalist areas you have experience in — recruitment, onboarding, benefits administration, compensation, training, compliance, etc. — and the infrastructure you created to support an employee population.
Do you see how if you developed one resume you would need to send messages which would, in effect, alienate the other audience? The sales hiring manager would wonder why on earth he/she was reading about benefits administration, and likewise, the HR hiring manager would not be very interested in your sales metrics. Not to say these audiences will not be able to glean some transferability of each of those experiences, but the core message would not be on target.
For the above reason, you will want to clearly define your target. You may indeed need two versions of your resume if you are seeking to position yourself as more than one type of professional. It would be much better to have two on-target resumes than one resume with a general approach. I always caution clients in being too broad in their approach as it is much more effective and efficient to send out a handful of resumes each week and get a strong response versus a lot of resumes with minimal response. We do, after all, only need one job! Remember: It is important to position yourself as something — not everything — and you will be able to send a targeted message, glean increased responses, and secure the one job you need. Best of luck to you.
Samantha Nolan is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and owner of Ladybug Design, a full-service resume-writing firm. Do you have a resume or job search question for Dear Sam? Reach Samantha at [email protected] For more about Sam’s resume writing services, visit ladybug-design.com or call 614-570-3442 or 1-888-9-LADYBUG (1-888-952-3928).
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