Every job comes with some tasks that you really wish you didn’t have to do. The job of looking for work is no exception. And one of the activities job-hunters dislike the most? If you do it, you’ll know it … customizing your resume for every position you apply for.
Not much fun, time-consuming, #rather not.
But do you have a choice? Not really. The reality is recruiters and hiring managers expect you to customize your resume to show how you meet the requirements of a particular job. You must connect the dots for the person reading it or your resume won’t have a long life.
Studies show people spend only 6 to 20 seconds skimming a resume before deciding to keep or delete it.
But if you take the glass is half-full approach, which is how we roll at The Bagg Group, it can work to your favour that many dislike revisiting their resume so much that they don’t do so. A lot of people post their generic resume, telling themselves that it’s “close enough.”
Basically, they’re doing the equivalent of tossing a deck of cards in the air and hoping a royal flush will land. Not exactly a winning strategy. But since a lot of people don’t tailor-make their resume, if you do, you’ll have a competitive advantage.
And here’s another piece of good news. We have a suggestion to make revisiting your resume not so bad.
Here’s a different approach. It’s a small theatre exercise, or role-play, that serves two main purposes:
- It’ll inject some energy into the task of customizing your resume which can invigorate your writing.
- Most importantly, it’ll help you get inside the head of the person reading your resume. This makes it faster and easier for you to rewrite to deliver what they want.
If you’re game to try, here are the rules of the game:
- Read the job posting for clues. Ask yourself: “What does this company hope someone will do for them? What are they looking for me to do? What skills do they want me to have?” Highlight or write down the answers. If you write them, use same words as is in the posting. You’ll want to feed some of those words back.
- Now comes the fun part. Act out a scene between you and the imaginary hiring manager.
It’s a small piece of theatre you can imagine in your head.
Each time you imagine yourself as the hiring manager, shift your position in your chair. Lean forward or lean back. Or even just pick up or put down an object. Take on or off glasses. Even better, switch chairs. Really try to change something when you change roles. It helps you move away from yourself and into the other person’s thinking.
You may find it odd to switch from yourself to another person. But you’ll be amazed how speaking and acting as if you were someone else really helps you figure out what they want, and that speeds up your ability to deliver.
Here’s how a sample role play could go, using a job posting you’re interested in.
You: That’s great because I definitely have the know-how. You know, I did …. (what have you done that relates, can you put it in the same words as in the positing?)
Hiring manager: Sure, that’s a start. But how do I know if you’re any good at it? I mean, it’s not just about writing what you did, it’s about letting me know how well you did it!
You: That’s fair.
Hiring manager: Right, and sorry but I really just don’t have time for a long detailed story. Just tell me in one sentence, what did you do and what was the result? If you can, give me the result in numbers or percentages. For example, did it result in an increase of sales? You get the idea.
You: What if I can’t do that? I don’t have any numbers, I just know what I did was successful…
Hiring manager: It was successful, because…? Just give me the bottom line.
You: Okay, because ……(your answer here)
3. Capture your responses to the imagined hiring manager. These become your bullet points for your customized resume.
Here are some insider tips from our recruiter experts at all five of our divisions – the tips work just as well for Bagg Professional, Bagg @ Your Service, Bagg Technology Resources (BTR), Bagg Managed Resources and Turn Key Staffing Solutions.
- As much as possible, match your wording to the language and style of the job posting.
- Think about having a separate skills sections. You can still put your skills in the body of your resume, but it can be helpful to capture the relevant ones at the top, for fast and easy identification for the reader.
- Use bullets. And don’t make bullets longer than two lines.
You’ll find editing your resume comes a lot easier when you talk it out. And who knows, you may you enjoy the exercise so much, you’ll end up adding acting or scriptwriting to your related activities.