The Myth of the Generic Resume

When reviewing a resume, the first question I ask is, “What types of jobs will you be applying for?” Often the applicant replies that they are not sure, but they want to prepare a “general” resume.

The Truth of the Matter

Using a generic resume is counter-productive to the job hunt. Ideally, an applicant should research the position and company and tailor the resume based on the company’s needs. In this case, a general resume will not convince the employer that you are the right person for a specific job. Instead, the general resume tends to showcase generic skills. In other words, a general resume will not usually show your best side to the employer, especially in more specialized fields.

The Solution

Even if you do not know which specific positions you will be applying for, begin by seeking similar job opportunities and noticing which key words and phrases show up over and over again. Use these specific skills and qualities will help guide your resume, making it more focused and showing your most relevant experience to the employer. Then, when you begin to apply to specific positions, update your resume to match. You may find yourself creating one or two base resumes that cover most positions you are applying for. Simply update that base resume for each position.

To show your best attributes for the positions you are applying for, it is crucial to go beyond the general resume. Remember – the employer is looking for evidence that you are the perfect candidate for the position. A generic resume will not show your qualifications as well as a tailored resume.

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