5 Ways to go from Jack of All Trades to Specialist using your Resume
You’ve probably heard the phrase “jack of all trades” to describe a person who has a vast quantity of skills. While this can often be viewed as a high compliment, unfortunately the second part of that phrase, “master of none,” is the element that keeps many candidates from getting an interview. As recruiters, we have yet to receive a request from an employer for someone who has dabbled in a little bit of everything. Employers want specialists who will bring their focused knowledge and experience to a position. In order for a hiring manager to perceive you as a master of the skills on your resume, you’ll need to spell it out. While a wide array of skills and experience can be viewed as a positive attribute, it can also prevent a hiring manager from recognizing those skills that make you most qualified for a certain position. A LinkedIn article explains that when you are trying to market dozens of things about yourself in your resume, you run the risk of overwhelming a hiring manager with too much information. A job opening means that there is a specific problem to solve at an organization. You want to be distinguished from other applicants as the person who has the skills to solve that problem. Here are a few tips to help you refine your resume, so employers will find you and you can secure an interview.
Amplify your Resume with Certifications
While you’re making these necessary adjustments, now is a good time to add any relevant certifications or awards that you have received since you last updated your resume. If you hit a sales goal and received acknowledgement, or became certified or licensed in a particular specialty related to your current job search, a potential employer will find this information very beneficial. If you’re excelling in a particular field, and it’s been recognized by a reputable organization, this is further proof that you are a goal-oriented individual who is likely to meet, and even exceed an employer’s expectations. If you haven’t secured any certifications or licenses, don’t panic. Not every industry demands high level certifications. However, if you really have your heart set on the position, an online Money article recommends taking online courses to enhance your existing skills, or brushing up on those that may have fallen by the wayside. Depending on what industry you are in, they can be relatively inexpensive, and not terribly time consuming. It requires some discipline to do this without the pressure from outside sources, but if it helps put you in the in front of a hiring manager, it’s worth your time and effort.
Make Adjustments Based on the Position
Instead of taking a “one-size fits all” approach, CareerBuilder recommends using the job description for your desired role as a guide and make your resume match those desired skills and requirements for the position. No two jobs are the same, so the idea of one resume to fit them all is actually not really logical. Revamping a resume just a little bit each time that you apply for another position can mean the difference between getting an interview and not. Read through the skill requirements and match them to those in your resume that are applicable to the position. Find parallels with your previous responsibilities and accomplishments and highlight those. Many job seekers are protective with their resumes and hesitant to make changes. The more you make these small adjustments, the easier it will become to do it each time. So much of the initial steps of recruiting involve key word searches of large databases and job websites. If your resume doesn’t contain a few variations of job titles, software proficiencies and hard skills that can be found in this way, they may never find you.
Remove Irrelevant or Dated Information
While using the right keywords in your resume can help hiring managers and recruiters find you, it is important to remember that they are really interested in your most recent experience. 10 years of reverse chronological job history is typically more than enough, especially if you’re staying within the same field. If you are returning to a position you held or field that you were in 12-15 years earlier, you should include that job history as well, but you will need to explain it a bit. You can do this in the summary at the beginning of your resume, or in a cover letter. A Monster article recommends including history from 1-3 industries at most in order to help you narrow things down to the most relevant content.
Lure them in with a Summary or Cover Letter
More than just a job history, your resume is literally a road map for a hiring manager to follow which leads them to you as the best candidate for a position. It’s important to shift the focus to those things that make you the best fit for the desired positon. You can start to steer them in this direction with a highly targeted cover letter. This can be an opportunity to show a little of your personality, along with the “meat and potatoes” of what makes you the most qualified applicant for the open position. You can also demonstrate that you have done some research on the role, and that your skills are a good match to the organization. Giving hiring managers a preview of your core competencies saves them time, which they will appreciate. Some employers specifically request that applicants not include a cover letter. In this case, a special section at the beginning of your resume could accomplish this goal. A Monster article recommends adding a qualifications summary at the beginning of your resume to attract attention immediately. Instead of using this space to talk about your objectives, use it to demonstrate just how qualified you are to do the job. Include concrete examples of ways that you helped improve processes, increase sales or solve problems in a similar position. This is your marketing pitch. If you get their attention at the beginning, they’ll keep reading.
References and Recommendations
When you’re specifically targeting a certain job or company, the right references can help distinguish you from the competition. This is no time for “references available upon request.” This is the time to capitalize on those professional relationships that you’ve nurtured and put them to good use. References that can substantiate your skills and abilities as they relate to your target job are invaluable. A unique way to do this might be through short testimonials from your references. For example, you may consider doing something like this:
References and Recommendations
During the 3 year period that Melanie was employed at our firm, she was an invaluable member of the team. Our clients were highly complimentary of her abilities and positive attitude. In a few short months, Melanie managed to shorten our client response time, streamline our billing process and add helpful software to better archive our records. She will be a prized asset to any company that employs her.
Francis W. Smith Esquire
Partner, Law Firm of Smith, Beech and Simpson
This is also a fabulous opportunity to include a letter of recommendation from a former employer if the position you held with them is similar to the one you’re seeking. Business Insider recommends gathering 1-3 letters of recommendation from employers, volunteer coordinators and clients when you’re not actively looking. That way, your accomplishments and abilities are fresh in the minds of those giving you the recommendation, and you will always have a few to choose from if you need them at a moment’s notice. As an additional note, you should always make sure to ask permission of those people you are providing as references for a potential employer, and confirm that you are allowed to provide their contact information.
Amplify your Resume with Certifications
While you’re at it, now is a good time to add any relevant certifications or awards that you have received since you last updated your resume. If you hit a sales goal and received acknowledgement, or became certified or licensed in a particular specialty related to your current job search, a potential employer will find this information very beneficial. If you’re excelling in a particular field, and it’s been recognized by a reputable organization, this is further proof that you are a goal-oriented individual who is likely to meet, and even exceed an employer’s expectations. If you haven’t secured any certifications or licenses, don’t panic. Not every industry demands high level certifications. However, if you really have your heart set on the position, an online Money article recommends taking online courses to enhance your existing skills, or brushing up on those that may have fallen by the wayside. Depending on what industry you are in, they can be relatively inexpensive, and not terribly time consuming. It requires some discipline to do this without the pressure from outside sources, but if it helps put you in the in front of a hiring manager, it’s worth your time and effort.
Technology is playing a big part in recruiting these days, and this trend does not show any signs of changing as more artificial intelligence is developed and accessible. This has never been clearer than it was following Google’s recent announcement that it will soon launch a job search platform that is unparalleled in the industry. Their service will boast a superior ability to filter results obtained throughout the entirety of the internet. With smarter searches, employers and hiring managers will have a much greater pool of results to sift through when they are gathering resumes. It’s going to be more important than ever that your resume be packed full of the most relevant content so that Google’s search finds it, and ranks it high up on the list. Those job seekers with the most significant and powerful content will rise to the top of Google’s list, and therefore, be more visible to potential employers. Start refining your resume now, and make those minor updates each time you apply. On the bright side, in a month or two, you’ll have a whole new reason to Google yourself.
Bradley Staffing Group is a full-service staffing firm based in Wayne, PA. We are committed to matching A-level talent with best-in-class businesses. Our knowledgeable and well-trained staff brings a combined 70+ years of staffing experience to our clients and candidates alike. http://useful-sock.flywheelsites.com/contact-us/