Join Jenny Foss for an in-depth discussion in this video Customizing your resume for different jobs, part of Resume Makeover.
- Top of the morning, everybody. Or maybe it's top of the evening. Top of your lunch break? Whatever time it may be for you, welcome. It's the third and final day of Weekend Resume Makeover. We are officially in the home stretch. In today's modules, we're going to cover a few important topics. We'll talk about finalizing and saving your new resume. We'll also chat about how to handle some of the more common situational issues, like gaps in your work history, or jobs that maybe you wish you'd never taken.
And I'm going to teach you how to customize your resume for those times in which you want to apply for a job that's maybe just a little bit outside of your primary target market. In fact, let's start with that one. If there's one message that I'm hoping has come through loud and clear through the Weekend Resume Makeover, it's this. You've got to make it easy for the reviewer of your resume, whether that's the ATS or the human reviewer, to quickly connect the dots between here's what we need and here's what this amazing candidate can walk through our doors and deliver.
I'm going to assume that if you've already started putting your resume down on paper, you've done so with your primary goal or primary type of job in mind, which is good. The strongest marketing materials are those that speak directly to your audience and deliver a message specifically designed to entice them or prompt action. But you may have secondary interests in another type of job, or maybe you just bumped into something incredibly cool, yet your resume doesn't speak loud and clear to the deliverables that this job is calling for.
What do you do in these instances? First and foremost, you adjust the resume. As we discussed early on in Weekend Resume Makeover, you simply can't assume that anyone is going to figure out how or why you make perfect sense for that job. So if you're dying to apply for some one-off job that's maybe on the fringe of your primary focus, it stands to reason that your main resume isn't going to hit the reviewer square across the chaps and make them realize, "Oh, hell yes. "This person's a great match." And the same goes for the applicant tracking system when it scans your resume in search of key words.
If you really want a strong shot at that one-off job, you've got to spend at least a little bit of time editing this resume. Now the tips I'm about to share here assume that you've not just created the resume of an electrical engineer and now you suddenly want to apply for underwriter jobs. These are two entirely separate resumes. Very different deliverables, very different resumes. But let's say that you've just created a resume that hand-angles you toward field sales jobs within the cosmetics industry, and now you're staring at an amazing sales manager job posting in another industry.
If you've done this correctly, your field sales resume probably hits hard on things like your ability to bring in new customers, blow away quota, and upsell current clients on new or expanded offerings. And all of that's good, and these are important things for an individual contributor sales role. But for the sales leadership position, the job description probably calls for capabilities that exceed "can bring in the bucks". It probably shows requirements like team-building, motivation, forecasting and planning, and strength in forging high-level strategic alliances, stuff that the individual contributor doesn't necessarily have to do in his or her day-to-day job.
And so in an instance like this, I would open up my field sales resume and make the following modifications. Number one, I'd change the titles across the top of the resume. Remember, you've listed a few titles across the top of your new resume to set the stage for the reviewer. You're introducing yourself using titles that will likely mirror the titles of the roles that you're pursuing. So the easiest modification, assuming it's plausible for you to position yourself this way, is to change at least one of the titles so that you're including sales manager or director of sales, or something close to the title of that specific sales leadership job that you've got your eye on.
Again, you want to look as if you are that thing that the reviewer is looking for. Number two, modify the career summary. This is where you'll probably do the most editing because you're going to need to introduce yourself as a sales manager, not just as a salesperson. So go right back into Module Five, and walk through the process of summary development with this new job in mind. Now some of your bullet points may stay the exact same, because in this case, I'm guessing there will be considerable overlap in what a salesperson job and a sales leader job look like.
However, be sure that in your summary section for the sales leader role, you highlight your capabilities in things like leadership, financial management, strategic partnership development, or whatever that job description is telling you are important requirements so that you make perfect sense to the reviewer right out of the gates. By the way, and this may be the world's most obvious tip, but I'm going to pause for a moment and say it anyway, save your edits as a totally separate file so that you have both resumes at your fingertips when you're done.
You don't want to write over all the great work that you just did in resume number one. I know, thanks for the great tip there, Jenny Foss. My pleasure. All right, number three way to customize your resume for a one-off job, modify the key skills. You've created an Areas of Expertise or Key Skills section. And if you're the cosmetics industry salesperson here, you've likely highlighted specific skills that would align with an individual sales performer. Presentations, negotiation, territory management, salesforce.com, and so forth.
Now you'll need to adjust this section so that it's more heavily loaded with skills that would be indicative of a sales leader. And again, review the job description and see what they're asking for. Assuming that you have these leadership skills, you'll want to add them into this section. Now you don't want to try and cram dozens of skills in here so when you add the new, more representative skills, edit out a few that are going to be either non-important based on your understanding of this job, or those that could potentially put you at risk for looking a little too green for a sales leadership role.
You can also re-order the key skills so that the most important ones are near the top. Remember, humans read top to bottom, left to right, so the most important skills should be near the top and/or in the left column, assuming you've built this section as a two- or three-column list. Moving on to number four, which is modifications to your actual work history. You know, sometimes very little needs to be changed within your work history, especially if this one-off role is quite to the core market or core type of job that you're targeting.
However, in an instance like our salesperson, who's trying to bump up into a sales manager role, you may want to hit harder on any work that you've done that demonstrates your leadership, your ability to build teams, or your financial management strengths. Even if you've never been called a sales manager by title thus far in your career, you may well be doing things in your current job, or maybe you've done things in prior jobs that clearly demonstrate your leadership or your management capabilities.
And these are the things that you want to consider calling out specifically. It could be just subtle word choices, but take a spin through each job within your work history and consider if you need to modify one or more of the key accomplishments so that you're directly calling out any management capabilities. For instance, maybe you were chosen to be the interim sales manager while your boss was out on maternity leave. That would be a really good thing to highlight. Or maybe you took on some side project that involved leading a big group of people.
Also good to feature that. These types of things, which may not be the same accomplishments you called out on your salesperson resume would be applicable for your sales manager version and increase the odds that the recruiter or hiring manager views you as sales manager qualified. If you need more guidance on this as you work through the customization process, you can head right back to Module Seven and walk through it with this different lens or target role in your mind. Okay, these are the main sections that you'd want to consider changing if you're applying for a one-off job or trying to influence a slightly different core audience.
Next we're going to talk about how to handle the blips, the bloops, the gaps, and for some of us, the total faceplants in the most strategic ways possible.