Developing an Employer-Focused Resume

One of the leading trends in the evolution of resume development is the employer-focused resume. Turning your current resume into an employer-focused resume isn't difficult, it simply requires a change of focus. As its name suggests, this type of resume focuses on the needs of prospective employers, not your accomplishments, education or tasks, but the specific needs of an employer relating directly to the position you're seeking.

Where the traditional–and less effective–resume format lists academic and work experiences without necessarily providing a logical connection to the new job or required skills, the employer-focused resume focuses on specific results, experience and skills sets that are directly relevant to the employer and the position they're trying to fill. The employer-focused resume is empowering because it allows you to quickely tell a prospective employer why you're the best candidate for the job, rather than forcing them to try and make the connection be reading your entire resume.

Start with a Powerful Summary Statement
A majority of resumes start out with a traditional objective statement that focuses on what the job seeker is looking for, what the job seeker hopes to gain, and more often than not tells a prospective employer or hiring agent a bunch of stuff they already know–or frankly don't care to know. What prospective employers want to know is if, and how, hiring you is going to help them meet the specific need they're looking to address. The first step in developing an employer-focused resume that gets results is to replace your self serving objective statement with an employer-focused summary statement.

A summary statement is a concise, yet descriptive statement of a professional's value proposition to a prospective employer. It presents information that sets the professional apart from other candidates, while focusing on the skills and competencies that are relevant to the employer and position. A powerful summary statement should accomplish the following:

  • Immediately catch the attention of the resume reviewer–whether that be a hiring agent or prospective employer.
  • Emphasize key strengths directly relevant to the employer's need and the position being sought.
  • Quickly and concisely summarize a candidates top selling points. This is important since most resume reviewers will only scan a resume.
  • Indirectly communicate the candidate's career objective.

An effective summary statement starts with a short title–no more than a few lines of text. A short title will quickly grab the reviewers attention and communicate the desired message. The summary statement is located at the top of the resume. It's the first thing the resume reviewer should see just under the contact information.

The summary statement could also be called a "positioning statement" because it's what immediately positions you as a good fit for the position you're seeking.

The following is an example of a powerful summary statement for a marketing manager seeking a position in the international division of a high-end advertising agency.

Award-winning marketing manager with 10+ years of experience developing integrated print and digital marketing campaigns. Specialized skills in cross-cultural brand promotion for digital, direct mail and print campaigns, with a unique understanding of how ads and brands resonate within diverse international markets. Extensive experience working with major consumer brands including Target, Walmart and Home Depot in domestic and international markets. Additional experience with budgeting, contract negotiation and project management.

Remember, an effective summary statement is not "one size fits all". In fact, it should be tailored to each resume you send out so that your resume appeals as directly as possible to the specific position, role and company to which you're applying. In essence, your summary statement is a marketing tool that communicates your brand in a way that sreams, "I'm the perfect candidate for the job. Hire me!".

Employ the AARQ Method for Resume Development
AARQ is an acronym that stands for:

  • Action
  • Accomplishmetn
  • Results
  • Quantify

Utilizing the AARQ method for developing your resume will ensure your resume captures and holds the attention of any hiring manager or prospective employer. The steps for implemented AARQ are:

  • 1. Create a list the tasks you've had at previous jobs. If you've ever created a traditional resume, this shouldn't be too difficult.

  • 2. Quantify each task. In other words, indentify numbers associated with each task. For example, if one of your previous tasks was to process claims for an insurance company, how many claims did you process each day? How much money did you save your employer?

  • 3. Develop your AARQ statements. Your AARQ statements relate to each task. They identify the action (task) and describe the accomplishment/result through quantification.

For example, let's assume that you worked as a claims adjuster for Allstate for several years. As a claims adjuster you were responsible for assessing damages. For this task your action was assessing damages and liability. Your accomplishment/result as an claims adjuster and agent for Allstate was to minimize damages and limit liability to the company. So how do you now quantify the results? Once you have some numbers, you can develop an AARQ statement. The following is a possible AARQ statement based on the above task.

"Efficiently managed claim adjustment process fir more than 15 vehicle damage claims per day. Effectively mitigated liability claim losses to a level 10% below the national average generating liability loss savings of over $3.2 million for Allstate during 2014."

Focus on Results
One of the primary reasons the AARQ method is so effective for developing an employer-focused resume is that is shows quantifiable, palpable results. Results not only lend credence to your claims, results demonstrate to prospective employers that you really have the skills and abilities required to meet the needs of the position they're trying to fill. Hiring managers, HR professional and prospective employers also know that past success is often a pretty good indicator of future success. Anyone can claim on their resume they can get results, but the AARQ method proves it.

Developing a resume using the AARQ method can be a bit more time intensive–but it's definitely worth it. You can spend more time developing an effective employer-focused resume today or a lot more time searching for the perfect job tomorrow.

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