Why the Jack-of-All-Trades Resume Often Fails

National Experts in Resume Writing & Career Coaching

Why the Jack-of-All-Trades Resume Often Fails

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If you’re job search is lacking results, evaluate if you have a Jack-of-all-trades resume. In other words, if you have a resume that’s displaying a message that you’re great at everything, you may be missing the point of what the employer is looking for. A generalized resume lacks focus. The key message to the candidate’s value proposition is also typically lost.

Each resume submitted needs to be customized to the employer’s exact needs. Take for example a job posting for a Social Media Marketing Manager. It may be great that the candidate has experience marketing on television, radio and the web, but if the employer is primarily interested in hiring someone with marketing experience on social media platforms that’s the message that needs to come through on the resume. Demonstrate and show experience with social media marketing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. The employer won’t care that you’ve done marketing on TV and radio if those aren’t outlets they will be using. The resume that lacks the ability to hone in on the key message – that the candidate qualifies for the job and has “specific experience and skills” to show for it – often will fail.

Here’s some rules to help avoid the Jack-of-all-trades resume:

Don’t use the same resume repeatedly without tweaking it
While it may have worked in the past, today you can no longer depend on one resume to send out to all employers. Each resume that goes out must speak specifically to the employer and its needs. Customize it to answer the employer’s question of “What can you do for me?” For more tips, read “3 Tips to Highlight Your Value on the Resume.”

Define your unique selling point
When you understand the needs and desires of the employer, you can hone in on a unique selling point. That will also allow you to incorporate the keywords that relate, which helps the employer immediately see your relevance. For more tips, read: “Optimizing Your Resume with Keywords.”

Omit what’s irrelevant
As you are writing your resume, always question why you are including the information. Everything on the resume should have a relevant purpose. Ultimately, it should be clear and make sense to the employer why you are applying for the job. Take for instance someone who is applying for a job in nursing. The individual also previously held a career in accounting, but even so, it’s unnecessary to indicate all the accounting certifications and courses taken – what does it have to do with nursing? Other aspects to evaluate on the resume is historical experience – experience that is over 15 years old. If your (distant) past experience is taking up a significant portion of your resume, it’s necessary to evaluate what needs to come off or what needs to be minimized. Most employers care more for your most recent 10-15 years of experience.

Treat the resume like a marketing tool
The resume is not a biography or historical fact sheet. It’s a marketing tool! It’s your chance to impress employers and let them know why you’re the candidate for the job. Use the resume to highlight the experience and skills that will matter. And, show employers what you can do for them; the resume is not about telling employers what they can do for you.

The final word is general resumes don’t work! Sure, it’s easier to just use the same resume over again without having to tweak it, but it ends up being more work for you because it reduces your chances of success. Taking some time to clearly understand what each employer is seeking and tweaking your message so that it’s tailored to the employer’s needs makes the difference between a successful resume and one that fails.

Focus on the things that matter to the employer and you’ll emerge as the stronger and more qualified candidate for the job. Considering many employers are also using Applicant Tracking software to filter resumes, the general resume will not have a shot at getting to human resource personnel. Every section of the resume requires the customization of keywords to help achieve a high ranking. For more tips to writing an ATS-friendly resume, read: “Applicant Tracking Systems: What’s Changed and How Does It Impact Resume Writing.”