Is Your Resume Too Generic?

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A resume basically is a piece of paper that sums up all of your work experiences, professional knowledge, achievements, awards, recognition and educational back story. Think of it like a permanent record that you actually get to see and can alter as you see fit. Having a good resume can really score a job for you. It’s like having that one golden pickup line that works every time, all the time. Still, people’s professional history is pretty broad. There are a lot of bases to cover and that can actually be hurting your job chances rather than hurting.

If you’re just coming out of college, fresh faced and free of work history, this may not be totally relevant to you. But for college grads with multiple internships and prior jobs, especially grads who are a bit more seasoned by the time they graduate, need to pay attention. It is quite likely that your resume is too generic. What do I mean by having a resume that is too generic? It’s not boring. It’s not messy or ugly. It’s just unfocused. You need to be like a laser beam when you starting making up your resume.

Most job seekers create one master resume and then drop copies of this document all over town. It makes sense on the surface. You want to serve up a slice of you and a big resume with your whole history on it seems like a good way to show that you’re no slouch. However, companies need to find the best fit for them. That means they want employees who have a specific skill set and background in the field they’re applying to. Sure your resume may indicate that you have experience working in finance, but if you also have heavy doses of occupation X and Y then it’s showing that your career is as unfocused as your resume.

It’s unfair to say that your burgeoning career is unfocused, especially coming out of college and trying to gain some traction, but that’s what a lot of employers will come to the conclusion of. For many, if your resume isn’t a straight line from birth to this position then you immediately blend in with the faceless mass of other job seekers.

So, how do you rectify this problem? Cherry pick information to put on your resume. Don’t just rely on one master resume. For each job you apply to you should craft a resume that is unique to that position. Just tweak what info you highlight and what stuff you ditch. Doing so can go a long way to helping you nab the attention of employers. A unique cover letter is a perfect way to augment a resume in this situation. A cover letter is really just a more detailed resume made up of sentences rather than bullet points. Hone your resume to get the attention of the bosses.

Need more help with honing your resume and overcome being generic? Leave a comment below.

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