Your resume is a very financially important document. If it does not work, neither will you. It deserves your full attention. Not only does your resume help separate you from the competition. But, the process of crafting your resume also prepares you for future interview questions you’ll get asked, too.

I know that finding a job is of the urgency, so it’s natural instinct to just want to update your resume, search for some jobs and apply for them. But, the approach to landing your dream career should be a very strategic one. In fact, before you should even start applying for jobs, it’s critical to know the different categories of positions that make up your specific industry.

Before constructing your resume, you first need to take a few preliminary steps, including:

  1. Define your target industry.

  2. Identify the role(s) you want to target within your desired industry.

  3. Conduct research on your targeted role(s). Collect job listings and/or resumes of people already in the industry. Study them, as they will show you the way employers think about, prioritize and describe these positions.

  4. Go back and look at your own history and pull out experiences that best reflect you can do the job.

Your career documents need to accomplish 2 things:

Here are the recommended formatting headers:

Contact Information:

First and last name

City, State



LinkedIn web address

Target position + Brand statement

State a target position (e.g. “Project Manager") as well as a brand statement so that your career intent is clearly identifiable.

Career Summary or Summary:

(Notice that I didn't say “Objective” because this day, the hiring manager may likely skip over it.)

Use a “Summary” statement to provide a brief synopsis about your career experience & history and career goals.

Core Competencies:

What are the major buzzwords or keywords in your industry that hiring managers search for the database of resumes submitted for a position?

By listing Core Competencies (at least 12), you get the opportunity to highlight relevant competencies or skills that you didn't necessarily attain on-the-job—such as life or personal skills.

This section also allows for listing relevant competencies that add value, but don’t necessarily fit the main story your resume tells (e.g. interpersonal skills).

Work Experience:

You can increase your chances of job search success not by creating a one-fits-all type of resume that merely reflects your experience, but by laser focusing your resume to the target position at hand.

Note: Companies really don’t care about everything you’ve ever done at your last jobs; they simply want to know if you can perform their job. So avoid using a bunch of jargon that only your last employer may understand.

Stick with job experience that only directly relates or is transferable to the target job and leave all that other stuff off.

Additional Experience:

In this section you can state any additional relevant experience---listing only the position(s) and organization name(s).

When you think about this section, picture relevant work experience dated past 10-12 years, volunteer work, professional associations, internships and other experience of the like.


List your educational accomplishments and military experience here.

(You can also list military experience separately, if desired.)


Want to take it a step further? I'm doing resume critiques (because it's my favorite thing to do) through the month of April. Claim your FREE spot here:


Again, in order to get the best return you must fully invest yourself into crafting a resume that targets a particular role, tells a story, and is highly discoverable by hiring managers in the search database. By following these guidelines, you are guaranteed to cover every aspect.