Before and After Resume - from common clone to distinguished candidate

I continue to be dismayed by how generic most "before" resumes sound. I am pretty sure it comes from copying and pasting statements from job postings or position descriptions. (One tip-off is that sometimes people leave these statements in the 3rd person, as in "(s'he) liaises with vendors regarding quality issues." Resume content is generally written in the 1st person as in "(I) liaise with..." NB - the pronoun she, he or I is implied in bulleted statements.)

And so, because 99.9% (okay, maybe 90%) of job applicants do precisely this - copy and paste statements from the job postings - everyone reads like a bunch of clones. How boring for recruiters and no wonder they give most resumes a 7-second scan!

What, you may be asking, can one do? How does one throw in enough of those "key words and key phrases" that are key to landing an interview? Well, the key words and phrases are only part of the duo that's instrumental to landing an interview. The other half is all about communicating value, and actually, these go nicely hand in hand.

Take a recent quality assurance client (let's call him Jim). What Jim didn't have on his resume were  specifics that speak to his value, for example, having been selected to conduct a quality audit on a 50,000 sq. ft. manufacturing plant in another country. That provided an ideal opportunity to integrate key words without resorting to the position description/job posting bullets!

That's one tactic to demonstrating the value you bring while incorporating those pesky key words. You can tie the two together by citing that you were selected for that audit project because of your skills in (and list these), because you had provided an outstanding report on an internal audit (from Jim's perspective), because you'd scored expectionally well in a quailty training course. The reasons could be many, and it's this level of customization to your actual experience that makes your resume interesting to read, aligns your skills with the position's needs, and tells the recruiter that you're a viable new hire prospect.

Now it's your turn. Challenge yourself to pull in specific-to-you projects, assignments, recognition, secondments, training opportunities, mentorship ... something from your work history that will allow you to combine a statement of value and of skills (as the key words and phrases are generally hard skills that are quite specific to that position).

In this way you'll customize or personalize your resume and distinguish yourself from the long line of resume-clones!