Q. I recently graduated with a bachelor of science degree in biology, with a minor in finance, and I could go anywhere with that combination. I could be a research assistant, technical writer, benefits manager in a pharmaceutical company—the job opportunities are wonderful. Right now, I do not have a clue where I will be applying for a job. So how can I possibly target my resume for the job I want?
A. The answer to your question is right in the question itself: you need to figure out what job you want before you can write a resume for it. You list three out of many career paths open to you. Which has the most appeal? The companies you apply to will not look at your resume and figure out where to place you in their organization. Instead, they want to know where you want to be placed.
So before you target your resume, you have to target your career path. Ask yourself these five questions:
- What courses did you enjoy the most or excel at? Maybe you excelled more in finance or biology or an entirely different field. Most of us choose careers based on our strengths.
- What do you want out of a career? What is most important: a chance to progress, high salary, specific location (not all jobs are available in all locations), or something else?
- Which careers appeal most to you? Research specific job opportunities in biology and finance, read advertisements and job postings, and talk to people in the field. Does the reality match your idea of the right career?
- What further education, licenses, or certifications would you need for the career? Do you have the financial resources, time, and interest to meet those criteria?
- What types of companies appeal to you most? Are you committed, for example, to environmentally sensitive companies or developing new drugs or showing a company how to become financially sound? Do you prefer large companies or small ones?
When you have a handle on what you want, you will be able to target your resume for positions that meet as many of your criteria as possible. You might need two resumes: one for your science-focused preferences and one for your financial-focused preferences. But having more than two resumes is a clue that you have not really answered the five questions.
Robin’s Resumes® provides career coaching as well as professional written, targeted resumes. If you need help in focusing both your career and your resume, please contact us.