Targeted Resume - A Resume On A Single Mission

Targeted Resumes - 5 Steps To Writing A Targeted Resume

© David Alan Carter
All Rights Reserved

Back in the olden days (i.e., before the Internet made job searches both heavenly and hellish at the same time), resumes were more often than not a "one size fits all" document. A job seeker would write one basic document, and apply it to every opportunity that cane down the pike.

Try that today, in the worst economy in decades, and be prepared to stay in the unemployment line for years. Everything has changed, including the way companies screen and select candidates and – out of necessity – the way candidates approach the job market. In an age where a job posted online can generate thousands of resume responses, your only chance is for your document to quickly convince the reader that you are the perfect fit for this particular job. Not a close fit. Not a maybe fit. A perfect fit. How do you do that? By writing a targeted resume.

A Targeted Resume Is A Resume Built For A Single Mission

The good news is that nothing will get you closer to the interview than a targeted resume. The bad news is that you're out time and energy if that call for an interview never comes, because a targeted resume is only good for a shot at one specific job. Still, in this tough economy, that's a sacrifice and a gamble that a serious job seeker is simply going to have to make.

5 Steps To Writing A Targeted Resume

1) Begin with a master, or "core" resume. I say resume loosely because this core should include everything about your professional life that you can think of, including the kitchen sink – every competency that you could possibly attribute to yourself, every accomplishment no matter how small, etc. No one will ever see this resume, but you. Make it as long as your thoughts require. This is the written representation of the initial brainstorming that every resume writer must go through. But in this case, you're going to format these voluminous notes into some semblance of a resume – only this resume will never see the light of day. This will be the "well" that you will draw from when crafting target "spinoff" resumes.

2) Identify a specific job opening to which you wish to apply. Be it a word-of-mouth opening or a listing in a popular job bank, research and gather all the information you can about the position and the company behind the job.

3) Craft the targeted resume. Here's how. First, cut a copy of that core resume, leaving the original core intact for another day and another targeted resume. Now, working with your core copy, lift the job title in question and stick it right into your resume objective. Take the job description and weave it into your profile or summary section. You can do this verbatim, using the exact words as those in the job ad, or you can adjust those words slightly using similar (very similar) synonyms and such. Comb through your work history; delete irrelevant information and highlight relevant responsibilities and achievements.

4) Don't forget a targeted cover letter. Approach the letter in the same general manner that you crafted the resume, lifting whole phrases from the job's requirements and weaving them into statements of your qualifications.

5) Follow the company's resume submission instructions to a tee.

The idea behind a targeted resume is to perfectly align your skill set and abilities with those demanded of a particular job. All of this presumes, of course, that you're a good match for the job in question. The closer you can get to that perfect alignment, the better your odds of getting that call for an interview. If you keep your core resume handy and updated, and plan a campaign around targeted "spinoff" resumes, you'll be outpacing the lion's share of your competitors.

Tip: A Good Resume Builder Can Help With A Targeted Resume Campaign

If you're looking to do all this yourself, consider a resume builder that can keep your "core" resume and all your targeted spinoffs organized and right at hand when you need them – like when you get called in for an interview.

Of the resume builders we've reviewed, two stand out for their superior capabilities when it comes to targeted resume tools. Here they are, in order of their star ranking...

Company... Go To... Rating...  Pricing... In-Depth...


$14.95   monthly sub.

Builder is intuitive and quick to master. Includes cover letters, email, faxing, your own webpage. Free to try... (read REVIEW)

EasyJob.net Website

$49.99 now $29.99

25,000 templates to pick from, multiple formats, and submission tracking. And cover letters are included... (read REVIEW)

We particularly like Pongo for its ease of use and intuitive interface. Pongo offers a multitude of features that directly assist a targeted resume campaign -- like resume tracking. And Easy Job is right on Pongo's heels as a close second. Read our in-depth review of either or both, and decide if one is right for you. Otherwise, consider putting the whole project in the hands of one of the professional resume writing services that we review on our home page.

Best of luck. 


David Alan Carter is a former headhunter and the founder of Resume One of Cincinnati. For more than ten years, he personally crafted thousands of resumes for satisfied clients from all occupational walks of life -- entry level to executive.


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