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Lock On Your Target
Exocet missile in flight.

Image via Wikipedia

Missile lock-on refers to a scenario where the guidance system for a missile (or its associated launch vehicle) can accurately track a target, and a fire-control system can calculate the required flight path for the missile to hit the target. (Definition courtesy Wikipedia)

All too often we as job seekers view job hunting as a RE-active activity, whereas job seekers find most success in being PRO-active in researching and finding successful career paths. To do this requires knowing your target, or the occupation you’re looking for, including the skills and qualifications needed for the job, and then targeting your resume and cover letter to adequately reflect those qualifications.

The ‘Launch Vehicle’

Avoid the idea that one resume fits all. An effective resume is customized so that it specifically highlights the experience you have that is relevant to the job you are applying for. It definitely takes more time and effort to write a targeted resume, but it’s worth the effort, especially when applying for jobs that are a perfect match for your qualifications and experience.

For example: a recruiter from Boeing recently related that while literally hundreds of people apply for each recruitment, as many as 75% of all resumes are immediately screened out of consideration for one reason: their resumes do not target the job they’re applying for. The more an employer or recruiter has to search your application materials to find the required qualifications, the more likely your resume will be screened out of consideration.

What Makes an Effective Resume?

Complete the following: an effective resume will get you: _________________________

Resumes don’t get jobs. They get you interviews.

If you ask 10 individuals, even highly qualified individuals, to critique your resume, you’ll likely get 10 different opinions (at least!). The true test of a good resume is: does it get you positive feedback from the hiring staff? Are interviews being scheduled? If not, start with the resume. What is it missing?

Likely it is not adequately addressing the qualifications that are important to the employer. If a job posting requests a Bachelor’s Degree and 3-5 years of relevant experience, your resume needs to show that as plainly as possible! Don’t make the employer work too hard—you’ll be hurting your own chances if you do.

Identifying Your Target

Review the job description, and then review your resume. Take the experience, credentials, and education that best match the job posting and include them in the Summary of Qualifications section at the top of your resume. Then list your experience in reverse chronological order, just like you would on a traditional resume.

The following is an example of a job posting, along with a sample resume written specifically to apply for that position. You can see how the resume writer made sure that her highlighted skills are exactly what the employer is seeking.

Sample Help Wanted Ad for Human Resources Manager

Recruit all exempt and non-exempt employees. Orient new employees to the organization. Design and implement staff training and development programs. Manage employee retention initiatives.

Administer all compensation, benefit, and state mandated programs including processing of enrollments, terminations, unemployment, and workers compensation claims. Responsible for compliance with state and federal labor laws. Serve as COBRA administrator for the company. Member of union contract negotiating and management team.

Resume Summary of Qualifications

  • Experienced manager with expertise in human relations and project management
  • Extensive background in staff recruitment and retention
  • Staff training and development
  • Superb written and oral communication skills
  • Organizational and Strategic Planning
  • Management Coaching
  • Program Marketing
  • Contract negotiation and compliance
  • Knowledge of Federal and State Employment Law
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