New Graduate Resume - Should New Grads Use A Targeted Resume?
© David Alan
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
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...
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.
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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