Thursday, April 22, 2010

What is your niche?

Every day I read resumes that are overfilled with irrelevant credentials.  One woman I recently met with is an MBA, CPA, PMP, BFD...   She has made it her passion to get as much education as possible in many areas, hoping that this will help set her apart from the rest of the candidate pool.  She is right in that it sets her apart, but I am not sure she is getting the attention she intended.

In today's job market, employers are looking for candidates that have specific skills and credentials.  If they are looking for a Project Manager and you have a PMP, then put it on your resume.  If you happen to be a CPA or have some other credential that is meaningful to you, and is most likely a great achievement, but it does not relate to the position you are applying for, then leave it off your resume.  It can do more harm than good if an employer sees too many letters after your name.

Companies are looking for value, and people who can bring value to their organization, but they typically do not want people who are not focused on their craft.  It is important to present yourself as an expert in one area, rather than familiar with many.  Find your niche.  What are you good at?  Where have you experienced the most success?  Emphasize these points, and let the rest of the information fall off.  This will help you position yourself to find the best job.

Many people have several resumes, especially if they are capable of various tasks.  If you are looking for jobs in separate fields or industries, then you should tailor your resume for each category.  There are some people with five or more versions ready to send to employers for what ever opportunities may come available.

What most people don't understand is that your resume will not get you a job, but it most certainly has the ability to keep you from getting one.  If your resume ends up in the trash pile because you are perceived as unfocused, over-educated, or over-qualified, then you should prepare for a very long job search.  And, when you do come across an opportunity, chances are it will not be the job you were hoping for.

Get focused, lose your pride, and align your resume with the desires of the people reading them.  If you would like your resume evaluated, sent it to me.  I will gladly give you my critique and help you position yourself, not just for a job, but for the best job...

ben.passman@cdicorp.com

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