A Great Resume: Broad Skills or Specific Talent?

Time to Freshen Your ResumeOn a job search, is it better to be adequate in a range of skills, or a pro in just one?

Creating a strong brand—through well-written resumes—can be an invaluable tool. However, for years we were taught to craft resumes as a generalist, showing the candidate as someone ideal for a broad range of opportunities.

The job market has changed and being a generalist may not be the best way to get a hiring manager’s attention.

Six ways to brand yourself as appropriate for something specific, with a narrow focus on a specific job opening:

Customize Your Resume:

A custom resume, written specifically for each individual job opportunity, hiring managers and human resources staffers see someone right for the individual opening. How to prove you are perfect? Demonstrate that you have already solved similar problems to the most pressing issues the company faces. This is a better targeting strategy than painting yourself as jack-of-all-trades.

Cold, Hard Facts:

As part of your research, you should have an idea of what problems the company faces.  You will never be able to describe yourself as the perfect solution to a specific problem unless you know what the problem actually is. That means information, not guesswork. Get the right facts and use them to your advantage.


Having an understanding of what the hiring manager’s priorities are, you can focus your resume on showing how you have solved similar problems in the past. This is accomplished by positioning your relevant accomplishments at the top of the resume. Without doing your homework, you could easily put the key issues at the bottom of your CV.

Your resume has to draw a hiring manager’s attention from the start, and lower positioning of related things could easily be overlooked.

Skills and Experience:

You want to be an expert. It is what hiring managers need, even for general skills. If you paint your skills with too broad a brush, you will never convince human resources that you are better than any other candidate.

Employers need experts in a specific subject, someone who has already solved problems similar to the ones the company currently faces; generalist skills are needed, but secondary. For example, search engines are geared, not towards general information, but for individual results. You have to be like a search engine result, an expert in a specific job.


Brand yourself as an expert early in the resume, offering the solutions the hiring manager needs. Be specific when emphasizing your accomplishments, with one or two compelling reasons you are the perfect candidate for the job opening.

Supporting Data:

Include vital information to demonstrate the ways you are right for the open position. Branding is a fantastic beginning—getting your foot in the door of hiring managers and human resources departments—but without facts to back it up, your branding efforts may be ineffective.

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Published by @philammann

Put. That coffee. Down. Writer/editor/whatever it takes. @margaretj13 is my (much) better half. Website: FloridaPolitics.com Email: phil@floridapolitics.com Twitter: @PhilAmmann

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