Monday, February 16, 2015

How I rewrite a new resume for every job application

This guide might be frustrating. The truth is there isn't a single method for writing a great resume. Instead, there is a great method for each job application. I write a new resume for every job I apply to. I've created a system for customizing my resume and can write a new resume in 10 minutes. Here is my method for organizing my resume writing process.

Every job application is an opportunity to make a connection with another person. My goal is for my resume to make a positive impression on the hiring manager. I customize each resume I send so that it will have the best opportunity to introduce me, my strengths and my goals.

Cover letters are old fashioned

I believe that cover letters are a waste of time. Rather than write a separate letter and attach it, I rewrite my resume to include the content that would normally go in the cover letter. Why? I believe that most cover letters are ignored. In fact, some job application sites don't have a place to add a cover letter. A custom resume makes it easier for the potential employer to see how my accomplishments fit with their vision.

Master resume

I keep a master resume. Every month or so I update it with my latest accomplishments and public projects. It is important to me to keep it updated so that I'm always ready for the next opportunity. It also helps me monitor my value. If I have new skills that are selling for a higher rate, then I have justification to ask my current employer for a raise. My master resume lists all my accomplishments, work history, certifications and projects. 

The master resume is just a list. It is not formatted pretty and wouldn't get me a job if I submitted it. My master resume is a catalogue of content for me to copy when I'm writing a resume for a specific job. I list every job I'ver ever had, with dates, managers, the tasks I performed, and any information that I think will be needed when I write a resume. 

Read the job description

I read the job description carefully and list all the action words the employer is looking for. Specifically, I look for the desired level of education, the required skills, and the desired skills. I carefully read the typical assignments, often times I see that the desired skills and the typical assignments don't align 100%. I write my resume so that it leans towards the typical assignments for the job.

Write a custom resume

Then I read my master resume and pick out the experiences that best match with what the employer is looking for. I copy and paste the experiences and write a few sentences for each experience that relates it to the experience the employer is looking for. This process makes my resume custom fit for the job I'm applying for. Since my resume has been customized, I don't submit a cover letter. Everything I want the employer to know is written into my resume.

Final thoughts

I use my resume to filter out employers. By putting my personality into my resume I know I will attract the right employers. I want to work with people who inspire me and challenge me to grow. I use my resume to communicate my expectations and give employers that don't agree an opportunity to say no.