Career Quick Tip: Building a Strategic Resume

Always keep in mind that your resume is above all else a marketing piece. And what you are marketing is YOURSELF – your specific skills, focus and credentials to demonstrate your proven ability to execute a specific role. Just like with cover letters, the most effective resumes are tailored to an actual job description. In most cases this will mean customizing your content toward a specific job and employer.

Start with the job description and highlight the key skills and requirements. Next, see if you can insert as many of these key words into your resume and cover letter as possible. In addition to making your resume more appealing to a recruiter or hiring manager, using key words on your resume will ensure that you make it through an ATS (applicant tracking system) which filters out resumes that don’t match the job description.

Remember that an employer might only spend 8-10 seconds scanning your resume so it’s essential that your resume clearly and easily communicates the value you can deliver. Instead of your resume demonstrating where you used to be, see if you can create a resume that demonstrates where you’re headed. Sometimes past work experience flows directly into where you want to be in the future, but often, it’s necessary to gain clarity on where you want to go and design a resume that emphasizes the parts of your experience that relate to that goal.

For more help on creating a resume, check out the following resources:

By Sarah Stockwell, MA
Sarah Stockwell, MA Associate Director of Career Services