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by Heather Kaiser, Certified Professional Resume Writer

Ok, so, you see a job online that sounds like a perfect fit for you…or that you could be a perfect fit for, if you could just get someone to notice you.

Now you’ve got to upload a resume (and pray).
Sounds familiar, right?
That’s it, you’re good, right? Uh, no. It’s not, and you’re not.

There is a lot more to consider in today’s hard-nosed, mega-competitive job market. Generic resumes that simply provide the basics of where you’ve been and for how long, are a dime-a-dozen. Probably less… Yes, most definitely, less.

So, how do you keep your resume out of an over-worked HR rep’s (no-doubt) industrial size shredder? It’s not easy these days, trust me.

Here are some important questions that as a serious Job Seeker, you should be asking yourself:
• Is my resume actually up-to-date or ‘close enough’ for now?
• Is my work history and experience highlighted properly to show how they apply to the role I’m applying for?
• Have I noted career or project milestones and provided data to detail my accomplishments and prove my productivity on-the-job?
• Have I researched the Employer to understand what parts of my education, job history or extra-curricular activities might be most important to this Employer…or for this role?
• Is my resume customized for each Employer that I’m trying to impress?
• Am I using searchable keywords and hard facts showcasing my accomplishments?
• Is the formatting of my resume organized professionally and efficiently from an Employer’s perspective? What is that format?
• Do I have cover letters that are also customized to each individual opportunity?

See what I mean? The days are gone when a Job Seeker can upload the same generic resume and cover letter for every job opportunity.

Sure, your name and contact information will always be presented. However, why wouldn’t you want to strategically highlight significant and situationally relevant areas of experience, education or responsibilities that show specific Employers that you are indeed well-prepared for the job opening they’re advertising? Shouldn’t you supply the data that proves your productivity on the job?

The short answer is this: YES – you do need to be targeted and strategic in preparing every single submittal of your resume. After all, it is the most crucial factor in determining who’ll score the interview with the Hiring Manager. Creating the proper strategy for each situation requires know-how, experience, and planning. This is exactly why working with a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) is worth your time and effort.

A CPRW is your tactical biographer, so to speak. They’ll help you organize and document your education, experience, and career milestones so that they’re prioritized and presented in the way that Employers want to see them, and that they make a positive first impression.

Your CPRW and your Recruiter are both working to assist you in preparing and presenting your Future Employer with the very best introduction possible. Remember, the goal of a resume is to get you the interview – not get you the job. Your Recruiter will step in to assist you in preparing for that face to face meeting when you get it.

Unfortunately, too many Job Seekers think that their first impression is made during their interview. That is the most common misconception about the process of applying for a job. Oblivious Job Seekers start out in a hole by not recognizing that their resume has already created a first impression of them as a candidate.

HR professionals, Hiring Managers and Department Heads can immediately spot a resume that has been half-heartedly submitted to probably hundreds of job openings. Thoughtless submittals of generic resumes create an impression that the Job Seeker is more than willing to take the path of least resistance, or worse, that they are simply disrespectful of the time of others. That’s the fastest way to turn your resume into packing materials.

Hey, did you know that the first paper shredding machine was patented in 1909 by Abbot Augusts Lowe, but was forgotten because old man Lowe died before he could produce more than his first functional prototype?

A well-written and contextually relevant resume is respectful of the Hiring Manager’s time and of the company itself, and it tells them that you understand and respect them and their process; that you have prepared for it. You’ll never regret being well prepared, and you’ll certainly never regret being better-prepared than the competition.

So, if you’re thinking “well I’ve got nothing to lose by just sending them my standard resume” …you’re very, very wrong. You’ve just lost the opportunity to stand out among the others, or for them to take you seriously.

I have been writing resumes professionally for 20 years, and I can tell you that I have seen it all, and I’ve edited it all. (rolling my eyes as I write this) I’ve seen a resume with three bullet points that was describing a 20-year career (Yes, really. 20 years.), and a five-page, multi-paragraphed resume that excruciatingly detailed every single part-time job – since high school! What these resumes have in common, is that they simply do not make the cut. (Unless it’s a cross-cut shredder…)

After seeing it all, I can attest that working with a CPRW is the very best way to increase a Job Seeker’s interview frequency. I can’t think of a more important or productive partnership and collaboration in the job search process, than the one between a Job Seeker and a CPRW.

For the Job Seeker, it’s like having inside information about what recruiters and hiring managers want to see on paper, and what prompts them pick up the phone versus what prompts them to feed the shredder.

My clients have been able to benefit from the fact that I also have actual recruiting experience, making me particularly in tune with every part of the job search and hiring process. I’m able to quickly and efficiently identify and weed out unnecessary elements on your existing resume or suggest and insert essentials that are germane, and that your Future Employer will find significant.

I enjoy the process of partnering with fellow recruiters every day, and becoming a true ally and participant is what is essentially the Job Seeker’s personal marketing team. Our job is to make you look as good on paper as you are in person. Not only do I love speaking with each and every client to make sure we’re capturing exactly what they want and need on their resume, but I also enjoy collaborating with the assigned recruiter to ensure that we’re all working in sync toward the same goal.

I’ve loved every part of doing this for the last 20 years and I especially love the feeling I get when one of my clients lands their dream job. Seeing and helping people reach their potential is a special reward that I’ve been lucky enough to experience regularly.

You know what they say: “Find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Yeah, let’s do that.

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