Targeted Resume Vs. General Resume: What’s The Purpose?

Job SearchSuccess Strategies
targeted resume

With a tough job market buoyed by competition, it’s never been more important to have a standout resume. But is a targeted resume the way to go? Or should you stick with a general approach? Maybe you didn’t even know there is a difference. So, we’ll start there. Let’s unpack what a general resume is and what a targeted resume is. We also provide tips on how to create a resume that stands out from the crowd. Whether you’re just starting out in your career or are looking to switch industries, there’s something here for everyone.

The Purpose of a Targeted Resume

A targeted resume is a resume that is customized to focus on a specific company, job, or career path. It highlights your skills and experiences that are most relevant to the position you want. A targeted resume can help you stand out from the crowd and increase your chances of getting an interview.

The best targeted resumes speak directly to the recipients. They include the language the organization uses, along with keywords that the company used in its job posting. 

A general resume, on the other hand, is a catch-all document that lists all of your skills and experience regardless of relevance to the position you are applying for. While a general resume can be helpful in some situations, it is not as effective as a targeted resume in most cases.

The Purpose of a General Resume

A general resume is a document that outlines your skills and experience in a broad range of categories. This type of resume is generally used when applying for jobs that are not specific to any one industry or field. When writing a general resume, it is important to focus on your transferable skills and accomplishments that are applicable to a wide range of jobs.

In addition to your contact information, some common sections to include in a general resume are:

  • Objective statement: Write a short sentence or two (that’s it!) about your career goals and what you hope to achieve by working in the desired position.
  • Skills summary: List your skills and highlight those that are most relevant to the job you are applying for. Include both hard skills (such as programming languages) and soft skills (such as teamwork).
  • Work history: List your previous employment experiences, starting with the most recent position. Include the dates you worked, your job title, and a bullet point list of your duties and accomplishments.
  • Education: Include information about your education, such as the name and location of the school you attended, your degree(s) earned, and any relevant coursework.
  • Professional associations & memberships: List any professional associations or memberships you belong to that are related to the job you are applying for.

Some people keep multiple copies of their general resumes on hand, in a PDF format that is easy to edit and send to multiple recipients. In fact, the PDF resume is the preferred format for many employment sites and recruiters because the file type protects the original formatting and content. The PDF eliminates concerns about compatibility, as it can be opened on a Mac, Windows, or mobile device.  

How to Write a Targeted Resume

So, what goes into a targeted resume? Here are some tips on how to write a targeted resume, using a project manager with vast experience in both Agile and waterfall project management styles:

  1. Understand the job you are applying for: Before you start writing your resume, make sure you understand the job requirements and what the employer is looking for. This will help you determine which of your skills and experiences to highlight. For example, if you’re a project manager that is scrum certified, and that’s what the employer is looking for, then lead with that! 
  2. Research the company: Take some time to research the company culture and values. This will help you customize your resume to match their needs. If you’re applying for another position that wants a project manager with experience in waterfall, then lead with that! 
  3. Use their keywords: Keywords are important when it comes to resumes. Make sure you use relevant keywords throughout your resume, including in your skills section and job descriptions. This will help ensure that your resume is found when employers search for candidates with those keywords.
  4. Highlight your accomplishments: In addition to listing your skills and experience, be sure to highlight your accomplishments in each role you have held. This will show employers what kind of results you are capable of achieving in a new role.
  5. Tailor each resume: Don’t send out generic resumes; instead, tailor each one specifically for the job or company you are applying to. For example, if you’re skilled in Asana, Monday, and Teamwork, but the job posting mentions only one of those project management platforms, lead with that and downplay the others.

Which Should You Use? Targeted Vs General

So, which type of resume should you use? It all depends on your specific situation.

If you know exactly what job you’re applying for, then a targeted resume is the way to go. This type of resume allows you to focus on the skills and experience that are most relevant to the position at hand. This makes it easier for the employer to see how you would be a good fit for the job, and it also shows that you’re really serious about getting the job.

Targeted resumes show that you’ve done your homework and you want to stand out from the crowd of other applicants. 

On the other hand, if you’re not sure what job you want or you’re just starting your job search, then a general resume is probably a better option. This type of resume gives you more flexibility in terms of what information you include and how you present it. It’s also a good way to show off your transferable skills and highlight your experiences in different industries or fields.

No matter which type of resume you choose, make sure that it is well-written and free of errors. Also, be sure to tailor each resume to each specific job application so that the employer can see that you’ve put in the effort to learn about their company and their needs.