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NCRW Corner: Targeted Resumes for the Win

September 07, 2021 5:00 AM | Administrative Manager (Administrator)

NCRW Certification Commission Grader

Writing a targeted resume is about capturing our client’s value proposition as it relates to the job they’re interested in. The hiring manager should immediately see our client as a perfect fit for the job in multiple areas—from skills and experience to an alignment with the employer’s core values, mission, and goals. Ultimately, a targeted resume speaks directly to an employer’s needs and increases the client’s chance of securing an interview.

So why are generic, “one-size-fits-all” resumes still being produced?

While valid justifications do exist, inexperienced or busy writers may not be putting in the time to dissect the client’s brand and figure out what would excite employers the most.

Tailoring the resume to the career goal is important because it’s the first topic covered in the NCRW Study Guide (SG). Here are the fundamental tenets outlined in the SG:

  • Prepare a well-rounded picture of the candidate. The resume and cover letter must demonstrate that the client’s experience, education, and accomplishments meet or exceed position requirements.
  • Focus first on the audience instead of the client’s experience. Begin by understanding the target audience (the industry, company, and hiring manager) and the job/occupation requirements.
  • Look for reoccurring themes throughout the client’s career. What types of problems do they solve? What value is brought to each position? What was accomplished? What was the result?
  • Prepare documents that match the client’s themes, skills, and accomplishments related to the job. Your documents should show how the client’s skills and experiences meet the industry, company, and position needs.

To do the above, we trade in our resume writer hats for detective hats, gathering evidence and facts before any writing occurs. Planning and strategy take center stage:

  • Research. Learn all about the employer, career field, and job requirements. Armed with information on what the employer is looking for, dig deep into the client’s career to find matching qualifications.
  • Think strategically. Instead of rehashing everything the client did in their career, pick and choose what will resonate with hiring managers.
  • Build targeted versions. Clients with more than one career goal may need targeted versions, each one geared to a different goal.
  • Pinpoint a job target. Clients who don’t know what they want to do should be referred for career coaching so they can gain clarity. It’s impossible to write a targeted resume without a clear goal.

In the NCRW sample submission process (and later the exam), we recommend that you submit a targeted resume. If a writer submits a sample resume that screams “retail sales,” but the accompanying job posting is for a software engineer, graders are going to question the writer’s readiness to sit for the exam.

In our resume writing practices, developing a targeted resume takes time, but the approach is worth it. We’re sending clients out into the world with compelling, targeted resumes that are sure to get noticed. The best part? Clients will tell everyone how successful their resumes were. Now, we can sit back and watch the referrals roll in.

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