You need a job but aren't sure of your career direction right now, or maybe this tough job market has left you willing to consider just about any position. Remember that while it's great to have an open mind regarding your objective, an unclear objective can pose a problem when developing your resume.
The most effective resumes are targeted to a specific career goal. Facing a flood of resumes, most hiring managers prefer to see a clearly defined job target along with credentials that support the resume objective.
So if you don't know what you want, how can you develop a resume that will open doors?
Strategy 1: Create an Inventory Resume
Start by developing an inventory resume, which highlights your key areas of skill and accomplishment but doesn't target a specific job or industry. This approach is ideal if you plan to distribute your resume to a number of employers but don't know what type of openings they have or how you would fit in the organization.
To show your diverse capabilities, lead your resume with a career summary that demonstrates your most marketable job skills, accomplishments, areas of expertise and any other attributes employers would find desirable. Here's an example of an opening summary for a manager who doesn't have a clear career goal:
Accomplished, strategic-thinking manager offering a combination of financial, business and technology expertise and diverse industry experience. Ten-year track record of launching initiatives to fuel seven-figure gains to the bottom line, restore profitability to troubled operations and facilitate global business expansion. Respected leader of large, cross-functional teams with expert communication and interpersonal skills. Proficient in the use of technology to enhance business performance.
A common mistake made by job seekers with unclear resume objectives is to create a general, one-size-fits-all objective section. If you find yourself looking for "a challenging opportunity" with "opportunity for growth and advancement," consider omitting the section from your resume altogether.
Important: When you decide on your career direction, modify your inventory resume to reflect your new job target.
Strategy 2: Develop Multiple Resume Versions
If you have several directions you might pursue, set up targeted versions of your resume geared to different objectives. This way, you will be prepared for a variety of opportunities and won't be scrambling at the last minute to tailor your resume. You can easily focus each resume version by changing the content of your summary section. Use the summary to emphasize your key selling points for the specific goal you're pursuing. You may also need to modify the rest of the content (accomplishments, training, etc.) to accentuate your most related qualifications.
The best way to target your resume for various goals is to first research positions or occupational areas that interest you. Search job postings to find jobs that appeal to you and read through the job descriptions. For each of your possible goals, write a list of the most in-demand credentials based on the requirements specified in the ads. With this knowledge, you are ready to customize each resume by focusing on your matching qualifications. Monster allows users to store five different resumes, so you may select the appropriate version when applying for jobs through Monster.
Strategy 3: Focus Your Resume
Your resume will be more effective and your job search smoother if you determine a career direction. Read career exploration books for insight into careers you might enjoy. Review available positions on Monster and see which jobs look the most interesting. Work with a career coach to help you identify career choices that would be fulfilling. Once you have a clear goal, develop a targeted resume that clearly states your new goal and emphasizes your most relevant qualifications.