As a best practice, you should tailor your resume to each role for which you apply. One critical area of a resume that I see get overlooked time and time again is the professional summary, which usually appears at the top of a resume.
There is a marketing concept called above the fold. Think of a newspaper. Newspapers consist of very large sheets of paper which are neatly put together and then folded in half. The headline for the newspaper – which is the “hook” and what compels readers to buy the newspaper – is found at the top of the front page of the newspaper. In other words, it is found above the fold. Using this analogy, think of your resume in the same way. The top ½ – ⅔ of your resume is the most important piece of real estate on your resume. This is the above the fold section. As such, the information found here, such as your Professional Summary, must be tailored to the role.
It is important to include keywords from the job description truthfully throughout your resume, as discussed in a previous blog post. That said, if your relevant experience doesn’t appear until the second page of your resume, then likely it will be overlooked. As an example, say that you are a Human Resources professional and you have experience in both unionized and non-unionized environments. You are applying to two roles – one in a union and one in a non-union environment. If your professional profile doesn’t highlight your union environment experience and your unionized experience doesn’t appear until the second page of your resume, then it may get overlooked for the union role. It won’t likely make a difference for the non-union role. On the other hand, if your professional profile highlights your union experience, then it will be great for the union role, but it may not make a difference for the non-union role. You also run the risk of not optimizing your ‘above the fold’ space for the non-union role.
For most roles, a recruiter will receive anywhere from 250 – 500 resumes (or more) for each role they manage. The recruiter will try to speak with the top 10-15 candidates (maximum) – or top 2-5%. The chances that 10 other, equally qualified candidates will have their resume optimized (and in some cases professionally written) for the role you’re applying to is very high. If your resume isn’t optimized, then it may not get a second look.
If you have any questions about this or any other job search topic, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. If you have any questions, video ideas, or would like to collaborate, please feel free to contact me directly. For personalized advice, click here for a list of services.
In the meantime: Happy Hunting!