New Graduate Resume - Should New Grads Use A Targeted Resume?

New Graduate Resume - Should New Grads Use A Targeted Resume?

© David Alan Carter
All Rights Reserved

I was recently asked whether new college graduates should use targeted resumes, and if so, which new grads would benefit most. I said not to worry, not all new grads need a targeted resume. My friend (fresh out of college) looked relieved. "The only new grads," I added, "who would benefit from a targeted resume are those who want jobs."

Targeted Resume Defined

A targeted resume is a resume focused on a specific job opportunity. It is written to highlight those skills and experiences most relevant to that opportunity. Each new job position to which the candidate applies will require a new targeted resume, customized appropriately.

Why Should New Graduates Be Burdened With Writing Targeted Resumes?

No discrimination intended toward recent grads. Sadly, this is a new fact of life and a burden borne by all job seekers in the current economy. If you want to be called in for job interviews, your resume must first make it through several rounds of screenings. Those resumes that are targeted toward the job opening in question improve their chances of resulting in a phone call. Those resumes of yore (i.e. those good ole ‘one-size-fits-all' resumes with a generalized objectives, overused resume cliches and jobs lined up like TV listings and each given equal weight) will still come in handy – to start the small fires to heat the cans of soup to feed the graduates who refuse to go to the trouble to write targeted resumes.

3 Tips for the New Graduate Writing Targeted Resumes

1 - Start by writing a ‘master' resume. Don't worry about length - nobody will ever see it but you. Include everything you can think of in your master resume: every positive trait, attribute or personal characteristic that might come into play in a work environment; every job, no matter how seemingly insignificant; every club or association to which you were ever a member, especially if you held a leadership role; even brief descriptions of the most relevant college courses.

2 - From that master resume, spin off a targeted resume as needed. To do so, revisit the master and begin eliminating everything that's not applicable to the position to which you're applying. If you're using an objective statement, put the title of the job opportunity directly into that statement. If you're using a profile or summary section (and you should be), use this to redirect your personal and professional qualifications, your skill set, and any achievements so they point naturally toward the job in question. Make this the opportunity to drive home the point that you are the right person for that position. Finally, refocus and highlight any past job(s) from which you acquired skills that could transition to your objective.

3 - Regardless of the length of the master, whittle down the targeted resume to a single page.

Now repeat, and repeat, and repeat ad nauseam. Customize each spinoff resume – targeted resume – as you apply to individual job openings. Keep in mind that a successful job search in this tough market is, to some extent, a numbers game. The more applications you tender and the more targeted your resume to the needs of the employer, the better your odds of getting those calls that lead to interviews that lead to offers.

The targeted resume is work, certainly. But it's also an opportunity for you to shine in the face of your competition.

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 technical recruiter (i.e. 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, from entry-level to senior executive.

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