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I have reviewed a ton of resumes over my 33+ year career as an executive leader; most of them are not very well done; they all look the same.

Most people research the templates that are out there and select the boilerplate they think is the best. This normally means the one that is the quickest and easiest to complete!

There are two “moments of truth” when you submit your resume to an organization.

The first is when the human resources folks get it. This is the 3rd party bottleneck you must pass through if you want a shot at the person who is filling the position. HR people don’t have a detailed knowledge of what the position requires. They are assessing the incoming résumés from a position outline provided by the hiring manager. How is your résumé going to capture the HR guy’s attention if it doesn’t stand out from the others; if it isn’t special and unique in some way?

The second moment of truth is when the hiring manager gets your resume and decides whether or not to invite you in for an interview. Now the scrutiny is at a much more granular level in terms of your background and qualifications. Again, if your resume is no different than everyone else’s why should you earn the right to a face to face meeting?

Before you engage with any organization to explore opportunities, you need a resume strategy.

The process most people use is to shop their look-alike resume around to the organizations that appear to have an opportunity available. They flog themselves with the hope that their capabilities will somehow resonate with the recipient. This approach has a low probability of success.

Here are the 4 steps to develop your résumé strategy:
1. Be Clear on Your Target Market; those organizations that you are interested in whether they have a current opening or not. Name them; be as specific as you can.

2. Research Each Organization thoroughly. Determine as best you can what their strategy is; the challenges they face. This will give you insights on the skills and competencies they may require.

3. Build a Customized Version of your résumé for the EACH organization you approach. Don’t flog your boilerplate résumé to as many organizations as you can. It’s about customizing a version of your résumé that addresses the specific needs of each company and the attributes they require. If you are interested in 10 companies, you should prepare 10 versions of your resume.

4. Answer the question “Why Should I Hire You?” This is always the killer question given the many other people interested in the same opportunity. The answer can’t be vague. It should declare as specifically as possible why YOU and no one else should be recruited. It can’t be, for example, “I have significant marketing experience”; many others could (and will) make the same claim. The way to do this is to create your ONLY Statement: “I am the ONLY one that…” (http://www.bedifferentorbedead.com/blog/item/257). This will communicate the unique value you offer relative to others.

Remember, you are marketing yourself; your resume must make you stand-out in the crowd.
Written By
Roy Osing is a former President and CMO with over 33 years of leadership experience covering all the major business functions including business strategy, marketing, sales, customer service and people development. He is a blogger, content marketer, educator, coach, adviser and the author of the book series Be Different or Be Dead. You can also read more of Roy Osing's articles at his website.

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