How to tailor your resume towards the job you want

When you are applying for a particular role in your chosen field, does your resume show roles that Resume Pic Scrabbleare significantly different to your career path? Does your resume have the hiring manager scratching their head and wondering “is this person a librarian, admin assistant or barista?”

At some point many of us have made decisions to take on work that suited our needs at the time. For instance, doing bar work whilst backpacking overseas, working in a café whilst studying, or labouring for a mate when you’ve just moved to a new town. Maybe opportunities in our field are not presenting themselves and we just need to pay the bills.

I helped someone recently who needed a bank loan to build his dream home and he was having trouble securing permanent work as a teacher. He decided to take a permanent part time job in a factory so his consistent income met the criteria for his bank loan. Consequently, we have worked on putting together two resumes – one for manual labour work and one for when he decides to return to his teaching career.

What can you do when your resume is telling all sorts of stories that may be unclear to the reader about your career objectives. Keep in mind that your resume is a flexible document that is best tailored to the roles you’re applying for. You need to decide what to include and what to leave off so that you demonstrate how you are an ideal match for the role.

Here’s some tips to streamline your resume and send a clear message to the hiring managers:

Career Summary

This paragraph outlines the job you do and the industry you have experience in. Write some points that address or highlight your relevant knowledge, skills and attributes and tailor these to the criteria set out in the job ad.

Work Experience

How you outline your work history can make a difference. Accentuate the roles that are related to the one you’re applying for. This means including jobs on your resume where you have worked in the same industry or the roles where you have used the skills needed for the work you’re applying for. For example, a teacher could include the following work experience:

  • Primary school teaching
  • Facilitating gardening workshops
  • Training staff in a cafe
  • Assisting in an office, lab or classroom in a university or training facility.

Transferable Skills

As we build up our work experience and strengthen our skills we can demonstrate on the resume how these skills can be applied to other jobs. Some key attributes that you often see on job advertisements include:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Customer service
  • Problem solving
  • Attention to detail
  • Organisational skills
  • Works well under pressure

How many roles can you think of that need these skills? To make these skills stand out on your resume you can highlight them in the following ways:

  • Mention how you’ve used these skills in the Career Summary section;
  • Write achievement statements that detail how you added value to the organisation;
  • Include a section called “Skills, Knowledge and Attributes” with a couple of sentences talking about how you demonstrated each skill or competency.

We talk about making a good first impression at interview. The same applies with your resume as you are setting the agenda for further discussion. Make sure your resume captures the reader’s attention by showing you’re a good fit for the job and this will improve your chances in being selected for interview.

Get in touch with Gen to help you develop a resume that markets your strengths.

Be Prepared to Have a Go

Wise words by Gail Kelly, Westpac CEO about backing yourself.

“My advice and counsel to women – indeed it’s advice and counsel more broadly, but in particular to women – is to back yourself. Be prepared to have a go, be prepared to put your hand up be prepared to put your hand up before you think you’re ready for a role,” she said.

“Many, many women want to be 100 per cent ready for a job before they’re prepared to put their hand up and say have a look at me – my advice to young women in their careers is to back yourself so people out there want to support you, ask for the opportunities, dig deep when those opportunities come your way, and have a go.”

~ Gail Kelly is the first female CEO of one of Australia’s major banks. In the press last week was the announcement of her retirement. You can read more here about seven lessons Gail has learned in her career.

Being in the Right Place at the Right Time

Last week I attended a training course facilitated by Professor Jim Bright on Career Coaching, Counselling and Assessment. The first question he asked was “have you arrived in your current job by choice or by chance?” Jim is the co-author of the book called “The Chaos Theory of Careers” and this training covered how our careers are often shaped by unplanned events. Continue reading

Turn Wishful Thinking into an Action Plan

Do you aspire to do things differently or make changes for the better but end up making excuses and doing nothing? Changing habits is about making a commitment to changing our behaviour or actions in areas that are important to us, such as health, money, work and relationships. It’s about identifying what you’d like to improve and taking manageable steps towards making this change.

Goal Wish Quote

I’ve written previously on the topic of procrastination and wanted to expand on this with some more strategies to get you moving forward. To get you thinking about how you can make a change, here are five questions to ask yourself: Continue reading

The Wonder of Remote Interviewing


A Prague job interview for an Irish woman travelling in Rajasthan, by Genevieve Ward

This month I’ve taken some time out from my business to travel through parts of India. My partner and I are two thirds of the way through a tour of Rajasthan, where we’ve visited palaces and forts, walked through small farming villages and market places, interacted with some of the local people and enjoyed their delicious food. It’s been an amazing experience so far. Continue reading

Being Paid for What You Love

Change Quote Lao TzuI admire people who recognise that their chosen job is ‘not for life’ and then do something about it. My Mum started studying for a university degree in her 40s and has since transitioned from working as a Personal Assistant to working in mental health as a Carer Consultant – a role which she thoroughly enjoys.

Being open to a new career path and exploring ways to make this happen, can pay off when you find yourself being paid for what you love. Here’s a couple of career change stories to give you some inspiration:

Cheers, Gen

Going the Extra Mile

Above The MarkWhen employers are assessing job applications, one of the things they look for is how you can add value to their organisation. As they review your application or listen to your interview responses they will want to know what makes you stand out above the others. Similarly, when potential clients want to hear about my career coaching services, I let them know that I not only help with writing their resume, but also give extra job search tips in our discussions and keep an eye out for suitable job opportunities. Continue reading