During a job search, you can’t beat around the bush about what you want or be humble about your accomplishments, either when writing your resume or sitting in an interview. This is a tough thing for many job seekers to come to terms with and handle effectively. One easy way you can be more direct with employers during your job search is to include a job search target and job title on your resume. These help with your personal branding, but also serve the practical purpose of letting recruiters and hiring managers know exactly what they are getting with you when you are applying for a job.
Being clear on your resume about the type of position you want is critical. If you don’t clearly identify the type of position you’re pursuing, you’re confusing the person reviewing your resume. And confusing the person you want to interview with is never a move in the right direction. Employers may have multiple job openings available at their company, perhaps even in the same department. If they don’t know what kind of job or job title a job seeker is hoping to be hired for, they aren’t going to spend their time guessing.
This brings us to another reason why you should always customize your resume and the rest of your job application for every position you apply to. The same job may have different titles at different companies. If you don’t use a job title the human resources department at one company is looking for, they might not be clear as to why you’re applying—or what you’re applying for. Take the time to look, and to change the job title on your resume and cover letter to match the job description or job announcement. Matching the specific title on a job posting does two things—it tells the hiring manager that you’ve taken the time to look at their company as you search for jobs and aren’t just blindly sending out dozens of resumes, to dozens of companies. It also tells them exactly what job you are looking for. Don’t miss out on opportunities just because you didn’t change a word or two before submitting your resume. Job searching is hard enough—make it easier on yourself by making the simple changes that can make a big difference.
Using Target Job Title / Headline Summary to Move up the Ladder
If you are looking to make a career change, especially if you are looking to move up the ladder and perhaps seek an executive position, it becomes even more important that you utilize a target job title or headline summary that contains an objective. If you’ve never held an executive-level position, a hiring manager may not be able to tell that you are seeking an executive job or position in the C-suite. As I said above, you should never make a hiring manager or recruiter guess about anything on your job application—including what your work experience makes you qualified for.
When you haven’t held an executive position before, your resume won’t necessarily demonstrate that you have the qualifications to make you ready for (or that you even want) such a role. So you need to make it clear that you do have the skill set and experience (and key accomplishments to prove it) to serve their company well as an executive—and that that’s what you want to do. Adding a job target title or revising your career summary / headline summary can turn a mediocre, mid-level resume into an effective executive resume.
If you’re making a career change, the same principle can be applied. Let potential employers know that you are seeking a new type of job, and what your skill set is that will benefit them if they hire you. Don’t make them guess about why your experience is transferable, or why the heck someone with your seemingly unrelated work history is applying to their company.
Integrate Keywords into Your Target Job Title / Headline Summary
Using relevant, industry-related, and engaging keywords and phrases is important for making sure you get a hiring manager’s attention during the hiring process.
As I discuss in this article about resume layout, it’s critical to put the best and most important information about your work history and skills on the first page of a resume, and to make it stand out. With a target job title and headline summary at the top of your resume, you need to write a resume that uses this prime real estate to grab attention with the right keywords right away. Incorporate action verbs into your summary to highlight achievements and demonstrate your value as a candidate.
Look at the job description, the company website, and social media, and talk to your contacts to figure out what kinds of keywords might be most effective to integrate into your job target title and headline summary.
Using the right keywords is also important for keyword optimization that helps get your resume through applicant tracking software, so by using effective ones at the top you’ll be killing two birds with one stone—and hopefully increase your chances at getting the attention of recruiters and employers by doing so.
The above are just a couple examples of using a job title or job search target on your resume. It’s important to tailor this information each time you apply. You should also follow your title with a branded career summary that isn’t a bunch of fluff but actually explains the value you offer the employer and why you’re different than other candidates. Make this summary about what you bring to employers, not what you want from them. For resume headline examples or resume summary examples, look at the resume sample page on the Great Resumes Fast site. Here, you’ll find examples across several different industries. At least one resume sample should be helpful for getting you started.
For more information on how to customize your resume, check out my recent article 4 Tips for Making Your Resume a Perfect Match for Any Opening.
The Great Resumes Fast blog also includes much more general career advice and hundreds of resume writing tips to help you optimize your resume and make your resume even more appealing to employers.
If you would like assistance creating a customized executive resume for your job search, the professional resume writing team at Great Resumes Fast is ready to help you. Click here to learn more about the professional resume writers and the process we use for writing resumes and other career documents at Great Resumes Fast.
If you’re ready to get started on developing a winning executive resume tailored to your career needs, get in touch with us to start working with a resume writer today.
Are you tired of your resume being rejected by applicant tracking systems? I know how frustrating it is to submit your resume and receive no response. I hate seeing qualified people never break through the screening process. It shouldn’t be that way. That’s why I created this guide and I encourage you to download the FREE PDF so you can start seeing better resume response rates!
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About the author
Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast
Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.
What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.
You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!
I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!
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