Resume Tips for ALL Job Seekers

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer as a mentor…

…and I’ve developed an approach that works well for folks of all levels and backgrounds.

Recently, I was asked to provide resume tips for all job seekers, conduct interview coaching, and provide general mentoring for folks at a Tech Job Fair and even though they were all very different [backgrounds, experience levels, etc] they all benefitted from the same kinds of advice and so I’m featuring it today.

My best resume tips for all job seekers:

  1. Explore job postings
  2. Match your versioned resume to the job post
  3. Use your cover letter to connect the dots
  4. Make it easy for the recruiters!

Here is a bit more on each of these resume tips for all job seekers:

  1. Explore job postings for keywords and trends

    • Find the roles you want and notice what experience, skills, and certifications they request
      • list these out so you can compare them against one another, and against your resume
      • pay attention to the title of the position, as this can vary between industries and even within industries
        • for example, if you are a producer, that’s also sometimes called a project manager, and vice versa
  2. Version your resume to match your skills and experiences to the open position[s]

    1. Make a master resume with all your amazing experience and education
      • it can be as many pages as it needs to be to get all that valuable info out
        • focus on demonstrable value and quantifiable figures, if possible
        • use blended communal/agentic language
          • communal is feeling – caring, understanding, compassionate
            • example: Team player who excels at collaboration.
          • agentic is doing – dedicated, determined, competitive
            • example: Drove sales to 10% above YOY goal.
    2. Create “buckets” of job “types” for which you are planning to apply
      • Explore job postings for these jobs and create lists of the skills and experiences requested versus what you possess
    3. Create a version of your resume for each “bucket” or “type”
      1. include versions for different titles for the same role/responsibilities
      2. customize a specific skills list for each resume/bucket/job type
        • list the most commonly requested skills that you legitimately posses
      3. focus on the notable projects, or past experiences which this job would require and feature those
        • include a summary sentence and bullets of achievements
    4. save the version as the JobTitle_Yourlastname_Currentyear
    5. track when you update your resume so you can determine what changes were most impactful
  3. Use your cover letter to connect the dots

    • They want someone like you…show them WHY you are the best and HOW you will make a difference.
      • Talk about WHY you are going to be successful in this position
        • use the most applicable experience/skill from your resume which matches their biggest ask, if possible
      • Talk about WHY you want to want to work there over anywhere else
        • reference their mission, goals, or anything else which is an authentic reason
      • Talk about HOW you will make the business better
        • be specific but not too detail-oriented, the goal is to pique their interest [not suggest tactics]
  4. Make it easy for the recruiters!

    1. In many cases, the first pass is done with a computer tool or AI which scans for keywords and required information
      1. You’ve done your homework and made sure they know you have what they want: you will pass through.
    2. Next, these resumes are often sent to a junior level recruiter who may or may not know anything about what you actually do
      1. If you have a non-traditional title, be sure to translate it into something anyone can understand
        • for example, if you are a “Team Leader” that can be ambiguous so you should try to match it back to your core skills, etc
      2. Do not assume they will translate or understand technical jargon or industry terms
        • for example, these folks may not know that HTML is also called “front-end development” so if the job requests HTML, have that listed out
    3. Remember, they WANT to get you in this position as soon as possible
      1. Make sure your contact info is accurate and you are checking your email, voicemail, and job site messages routinely
      2. Don’t worry if they go dark or things take a while
        • if they are creating a new position, there will be no rush for them to fill it
        • sometimes things require multiple levels of approval, which can take weeks or months
    4. Don’t harass anyone
      1. They said they will get back to you, trust them to do so.
      2. If they are able, they will give you feedback after interviews on next steps
        • If they don’t or can’t or won’t, simply thank them for everything and stay positive


Here is a simple infographic you can PIN to keep this info at-hand

resume tips for all job seekers


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