Like the fairytale in which Goldilocks favored the “just right” chair, food, and bed, your prospective employer wants a “just right” resume from you. If you lean too far toward generic or too far toward specific, you risk missing the mark altogether.
The too-generic resume
How do you tell if your resume is too generic? There’s a good chance it is if your reasoning goes like this:
- “I want to cast a wide net so I’m sure not to leave out any possibilities.”
- “I don’t know what I want to do next, so I’ll send out some resumes and see what happens.”
- I’ve been doing the same job for a long time. If I just list what I do, they’ll get the idea.”
- “I don’t know what I want to do, but if I list all the details of all my projects in all my jobs, they’ll know.”
- “I want another job just like the one I have, so I’ll make my job description into a resume.”
- “If I give as much information as possible, they will think by sheer weight of the resume, that I am qualified.”
- Decide on the target of your search. In short, what type of work do you want to do next?
- Make a list of the reasons you want it. Is it a new house? College education for your children? Better working conditions? Write the reason(s) on your bathroom mirror and read them aloud to yourself every morning and every night. Commit yourself to reaching your goals. I know it sounds woo-woo, but trust me on this one. What we think about is what we get and where we go. Think about the things you really DO want.
- Follow through. Write your resume. Include your target position in the form of a resume headline. Align all of your information and especially your accomplishments with your target.