In fact, “magical” resumes could be said to resemble the mythical unicorn. We’d like to believe that lovely and unique creature could actually exist, but we live in a world that says, “Not gonna happen!” To some extent, the same can be said about resumes. Hoping and wanting to believe that your resume will magically land you the job of your dreams probably won’t get you very far.
Creation of a resume that can help you work magic with prospective employers more closely resembles the work of a skilled bricklayer. It’s a matter of carefully placing brick upon brick and making sure to use the right kind and amount of cement to hold the bricks together so you achieve the desired effect. In other words, you know what you want the outcome to be, and you take the right steps to get there.
So how does this translate into practical concepts and actions? The following three elements all play a part in developing a resume that says, “I am the one you need” in the most appropriate and compelling terms:
1. Know your audience: A true one-size-fits-all resume does not exist. The temptation to cut corners and keep all your options open by not being too specific seems tempting at times. Resist the temptation! Define as clearly as possible who your target audience is and find out as much as you can about them, including their probable needs. Use that as a launch-pad for developing your magical resume.
2. Know yourself: Avoid either selling yourself short or inflating your capabilities. Instead, honestly evaluate what you can do, what you want to do, and-within those parameters-what you can offer potential employers that they would find worth paying good money for. One way to approach this is to get the view of outsiders (non-relatives, for example) on what you do best and how you have added value to your employers.
3. Know the market: In a good job market, you might have some slack, unless you’re pursuing opportunities for which you don’t have the necessary qualifications. In a poor job market, slack is nonexistent. You have to find legitimate ways to show how you outclass your competition, and you need to be able to go beyond the tried-and-true approaches-you know, the things we’ve always done that used to work so well but don’t any more.
A cautionary note: Virtually every job-seeker has some degree of competition to face. You could create the most magical resume imaginable and still come up short if you don’t get it to the right people at the right time. Building and nourishing a strong network should come before the point where you start submitting your resume for employment opportunities. Few people succeed solely on their own, no matter how good they are.