How to Customize Your Resume in 10 Minutes or Less, with Raine Lunke

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Find Your Dream Job, Episode 231:

How to Customize Your Resume in 10 Minutes or Less, with Raine Lunke

Airdate: February 19, 2020

Mac Prichard:

This is Find Your Dream Job, the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want, and make a difference in life.

I’m your host, Mac Prichard. I’m also the founder of Mac’s List. It’s a job board in the Pacific Northwest that helps you find a fulfilling career.

Every Wednesday, I talk to a different expert about the tools you need to find the work you want.

Does the idea of customizing your resume for every application overwhelm you?

Our guest this week says it’s not only essential, but you can do it in 10 minutes or less.

Joining us today in the Mac’s List studio to talk about this is Raine Lunke.

She’s a recruiter and certified human resources professional. And Raine recently started her own company, R2R Strategic Recruiting.

Well, Raine, let’s begin with the “why” here. Does a listener really need to customize their resume for every application?

Raine Lunke:

Absolutely, for sure. I think it is what you need to do in today’s job market. The spraying and praying method is no longer valid. We have to be targeted and customized. Without a doubt.

Mac Prichard:

Why? Why doesn’t spray and pray work? Because isn’t it just a numbers game in the end?

Raine Lunke:

Well, no. When you ask job seekers, is that working for them, I haven’t heard anyone said yes and I meet with job seekers regularly. And those that are being successful are taking their time to customize their resume, understand the company, understand their skills and how they can apply them to their resume and that job. It’s proving a much better return on just submitting a ton of resumes out there.

Mac Prichard:

Why does it make a difference, Raine, to customize your resume?

Raine Lunke:

It makes a difference because, as a recruiter myself, who has screened hundreds of resumes in, sometimes, just a day, you are…that’s what…they’re screening you in or out, and if you don’t take the time to customize your resume to that specific job, you aren’t going to get looked at.

Mac Prichard:

Why does it matter to an employer? If somebody has great qualifications, excellent education, shouldn’t that be enough?

Raine Lunke:

It should but they don’t see that, that’s the issue. They don’t see that. You have to use the right keywords, the right formatting, and the right approach. Say it’s a sales manager job; not all job descriptions are the same and they use different words, they are looking for different qualifications, and you have to mirror your resume to what they are looking for and the keywords that they are searching for.

Mac Prichard:

Is that just a technicality or does it really increase your attractiveness to an employer to use those keywords? It sounds like a trick that really shouldn’t matter in the end.

Raine Lunke:

For sales, for example, you may see Account Manager, you may see Sales, you may see Client Relationship Manager. Those can all mean the same thing and you might be doing similar things.

But as a recruiter who is typically the one looking at your resume, may not, in their mind, because the reality is we have a lot of untrained, unskilled recruiters in roles, that may not understand a Client Relationship Manager could be the same as a Sales Manager. That gets very complicated when you’re talking about technical roles.

Mac Prichard:

You have to speak the language that the employer uses if you want that position.

Raine Lunke:

Exactly, yes. Take the mindset of, help me, help you. You have to help yourself and that recruiter or hiring manager see your skills for who they are trying to hire.

Mac Prichard:

Let’s talk about what customizing your resume means. Some people, for example, I think, believe that if they’re pursuing two or three very different jobs, they need to have two or three very different resumes. Is that what you’re talking about here, Raine?

Raine Lunke:

Yes. If you’re interested in applying for a Sales Manager or a Customer Service Manager, probably different resumes. But it starts with the format of your resume, and yes, I agree that you should spend 45 minutes to an hour working your resume and cover letter for the positions that you’re applying for.

Now, if you have a formatted resume…

Mac Prichard:

I want to stop there and ask you, because we talked about doing it in ten minutes or less, I imagine a listener’s thinking, “Wait! 45 minutes? What’s going on here.” Is there some foundational work that you recommend people take?

Raine Lunke:

100% and I think that’s what I want to talk about today. Because for those that are customizing their resume, and they’re spending 45 minutes to an hour, awesome, great. And you know what? If you enjoy doing that, because there are those one-off job seekers that do, keep doing that. But there’s a way to format your resume to allow you to see a job and update your resume within ten minutes, and the key to that and what I want to focus on, and not overwhelm job seekers who are listening is that it’s a very easy way, and that is, you have your resume, you have your header…

Mac Prichard:

I want to dig into that but I also know that there’s a listener out there who’s saying, “Wait a minute, would I be better served by investing the 45 minutes? Or will following this format that you’re about to outline, Raine, and spending ten minutes or less, will I get the same results?”

Raine Lunke:

You have to have a foundational resume and you have to be confident within that resume. I look at resumes…I can’t tell you how many resumes I’ve looked at in my career, but it’s a lot, and even for individuals who have similar roles as mine. But I’m not a resume writer and a couple of years ago I would say, “I would never pay somebody or work with a resume writer.” Today I have a completely different approach on that. I would absolutely spend the time to work with somebody to build a foundational resume for me to work on.

Mac Prichard:

Then, once you’ve done that work, it is possible to customize your resume for different positions in 10 minutes or less, by having a format that allows you to adapt your document. Is that what you recommend?

Raine Lunke:

For sure.

Mac Prichard:

Let’s talk about what that format looks like and what matters and how people can make the most of it.

Raine Lunke:

So, how do you do that? You basically need to start with the job description for the position you’re applying for, and you need to understand that role, and you need to read that position. And what I want you to focus on is, most job descriptions will have a job requirements section. It is usually a bullet-pointed section. There’s usually anywhere from 4 – 10 bullet points. I want you to look at those first 4 bullet points. It’s typically consistent that the first bullet point will either talk about education and the second bullet point will talk about years of experience.

The next 3 to 4 bullet points are going to outline either required skills, or nice to have or desired skills. Beyond that, it’s usually talking about team building, communication, more of those soft skills.

Mac Prichard:

How do you tell what is required and what’s nice to have? Does it explicitly say required or desired?

Raine Lunke:

Most all job descriptions these days will say either required, desired, or nice to have. It does say that for compliance reasons from the HR side of things.

Mac Prichard:

You’re looking at that list of bullet points.

Raine Lunke:

Really hone in on that.

Mac Prichard:

There are 2 or 3 categories. What do you do next, Raine?

Raine Lunke:

Well, print the job description, take a highlighter, and you’ve got to understand those words. You’ve got to read between the lines. From there, what I want you to do is really ask yourself, “Am I qualified for this position?” If you’re not at least 70% qualified, don’t waste your time.

Mac Prichard:

Don’t rule yourself out if you don’t have 100% of the qualifications, is that correct?

Raine Lunke:

Exactly. From there, I want you to…the part that you’re going to customize on your resume is the first section.

Eliminate “Objective” and replace it with “Professional Summary.” Many people still use “Professional Summary” and an “Objective,” but they also write it in sentence format. Make that bullet-pointed. I want you to match your “Professional Summary” with at least those four to six bullet points of the job description.

Mac Prichard:

How do you do that? How do you recast what the job description says while being authentic and accurate in describing your qualifications?

Raine Lunke:

For example, let’s say we’re looking at a Sales Manager job description; the first bullet point says “10 years of sales experience within a SAS organization.”

Mac Prichard:

SAS is software services, correct?

Raine Lunke:

Yes, second bullet point may say, let’s say, “Bachelors degree preferred.” Third bullet point may say “Managing a million-dollar portfolio.”

I want you to go to your resume, and in those first three bullet points, you need to say, “10+ years of experience in sales in a SAS environment.” And use the word SAS if that’s what was on the job description. Don’t say software, use SAS because that’s what the recruiter is honing in on, those keywords.

Mac Prichard:

Again, speak the language of the employer.

Raine Lunke:

Exactly.

Your second bullet point, mention your education and then some. Third bullet point, again, you’re mirroring what the requirements are of that job. I tell job seekers, we hear all the time that recruiters spend less than a minute, a lot of times it’s 20 seconds, reviewing resumes. If the recruiter only looks at that professional summary, that should clearly indicate that you are qualified for that position. Whether they’ve looked at where you worked, your tenure, anything beyond that. So, that’s the section that I want you to focus on customizing your resume.

Mac Prichard:

That’s the most important because that’s the part a recruiter will look at when looking at your resume.

Well, I want to pause here, Raine, and this is a great conversation. I want to take a quick break, and when we return, we’ll continue our conversation with Raine Lunke about how to customize your resume in ten minutes or less.

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Now, let’s get back to the show.

We’re back in the Mac’s List studio. I’m talking with Raine Lunke. She’s a recruiter and certified human resources professional. She’s also the founder of R2R Strategic Recruiting.

Now, Raine, before the break we were talking about how to customize your resume in ten minutes or less. You were emphasizing how important it is to get that Professional Summary section right, and to look at a job posting and mirror back the most important points that you see there that matter to the employer.

What else would you recommend a listener think about, about the Professional Summary?

Raine Lunke:

Yes, I want to clarify, this is isn’t a copy and paste scenario. You have to use the right words but also add your personality to this. And I know that’s difficult to understand for job seekers who may be struggling just putting a resume together, but this is where you have to dig deep into yourself and find a connection to the job, and the company, and the culture.

Mac Prichard:

That’s a challenging thing to do in a bulleted list with 4-6 bullets and not a lot of space. How do you see people do that? The candidates that stand out when you’re reviewing resumes as a recruiter.

Raine Lunke:

It’s finding that balance of sharing your personal passion but not sharing too much. Creating curiosity, right? Leaving them wanting something more.

Mac Prichard:

Can you give us an example of what you’ve seen work well or something that’s stood out in an application that’s crossed your desk?

Raine Lunke:

Yeah, for example, let’s talk about a Technical Project Manager role. This role may not require somebody that SCRUM certified or mention that Agile is a requirement. But maybe you’ve done your research and you’ve looked at other kinds of roles that they have posted, like all their technical positions, and you’ve noticed that it’s an Agile environment. That’s where you want to start pulling in things that are going to grab their attention, you know, “Sales Manager, 10+ years of experience working in Agile, SAS environments.”

Mac Prichard:

Again, this is based on homework you’ve done, where you’ve looked at the website, you’ve studied the job description, and you’re trying to tease out things that your research has shown that matter to the employer.

Raine Lunke:

Yes, the other piece that I find very appealing as an individual reviewing resumes is if a job seeker has a recommendation from a past manager or employer, whether you have it on LinkedIn or a performance review, copy and paste that and put that in that section. That validates your experience.

Mac Prichard:

So, you recommend putting a quotation from someone that’s a fan of your work in the Professional Summary section?

Raine Lunke:

Absolutely, if it is talking about a specific requirement that they’re looking for, that’s going to set you apart. I tell job seekers, I talk to people all the time; I talked to a manager of IT last week and she was applying for a position here with a well-known company, and she was so excited about this role. She sent me her resume, she said she’d customized it. I said, “I don’t see how you’re even qualified for this role.”

Keep in mind as a job seeker, you need to tell yourself, and I know this is overwhelming and frustrating, but you need to tell yourself, there’s at least 50 other applicants for this job. How am I going to set myself apart? It’s those little creative things that you can do without writing a huge 10-page resume and sharing all of the information. That’s not what you want to do as a job seeker and that’s certainly not what we want to see as a hiring representative.

Mac Prichard:

Two things that I love about your suggestions here about including quotations: one is, it taps into the power of social proof, and I think everybody, when they reflect on it, recognizes the power of things like Yelp reviews, Google reviews. If we’re picking a restaurant, or making a choice about a hotel, or looking for a service, we go to those places and reviews matter to us.

The other thing that stands out for me is the power of referrals. Obviously, if you pick somebody who is known to a hiring manager to include in the quote, that has to be very powerful, doesn’t it?

Raine Lunke:

100%. And it’s different than the other resumes that are coming through.

Mac Prichard:

I’m curious, in your experience as a recruiter, if you see 100 resumes, how many candidates have taken the time to customize their resume?

Raine Lunke:

That I can notice? Maybe 2%

Mac Prichard:

That’s a very striking figure, and it brings me back to something I hear from candidates a lot, and I certainly remember this from when I was applying for jobs, you want to stand out. You want to be different, so what you’re suggesting here is a way to do that.

Raine Lunke:

Absolutely and I hear so many job seekers say, “But I wrote this amazing cover letter.” And that’s awesome and I encourage you to continue doing that. But typically, all recruiters are starting with the resume and they’re not starting with the cover letter, and they’re not even looking at the cover letter until you have made it into that shortlist.

While that’s great to do a cover letter and to really customize it, and while I really encourage you to do that, to get to that next step you’ve got to put that effort into your resume.

Mac Prichard:

I want to talk about the amount of time that it takes. Now when you say ten minutes or less, you’re talking about investing in revising and updating the Professional Summary, is that correct?

Raine Lunke:

Absolutely and the more you get into the flow of, “I need to start with the job description. I need to understand this job description. I need to look at the requirements.” And you know your first six bullet points are typically going to be talking about your years of experience, your education, and then those other core requirements that the job description is looking for.

One other thing that I do want to point out, because I talk to so many job seekers around the whole ageism discrimination thing, and I say that one way that you can customize your resume and not be looked at as someone who is overqualified, when in a job description it says, “10 years experience,” and you have 20, don’t put 20. Put 12+ years. It shows that you’re qualified and a little more.

Not the 20 years. Unfortunately, that may be sending the message that you’re way overqualified, you’re over compensation and a variety of other things.

Mac Prichard:

Right, and ageism in hiring is real, it’s a fact of life, it’s wrong, it’s illegal, but it does happen. The strategy that you’re suggesting here is a way to get over that…to get in front of a hiring manager so that you can make your case.

What about, outside of the Professional Summary, Raine, are there other sections of the resume that you recommend people tweak? And again, I’m thinking about that ten-minute limit here.

Raine Lunke:

It’s the keywords. It is definitely the keywords and you can do a Control F and search for, if your resume throughout talks about Sales and in the job description they’re talking about Account Management, Control Fine, replace that, say Sales Role with Account Management.

Mac Prichard:

How do you recommend people get clear about the keywords that matter to a hiring manager? Because job descriptions, there can be hundreds of words there, how do you suss out what really matters?

Raine Lunke:

I recommend, I’m old school in this way, print out the job description and go through it with a highlighter, and you’re going to start seeing words that are repeating. I do that when I’m helping a company or a hiring manager recruit.

For example, I’m working with a company now and I printed out their job description, I highlighted these words that just kept repeating themselves over and over and over, Account Manager, OEM experience. So, to me, I needed clarification going in and I knew that as a job seeker, I’m looking for those core words and skills from an individual.

Mac Prichard:

To summarize your strategy what I’m hearing is, focus on the Professional Summary, pay attention and study the job posting, make sure that you understand what’s required and what’s desired, and address those requirements and desired qualifications in the Summary. And then also pay attention to the keywords, and look for opportunities throughout your resume to find and use those keywords that matter to the employer. Because in the end, speaking the language of the employer is going to give you a leg up on your competitors.

That’s the strategy, and if you execute it, you’ll be doing something that 98% of the other applicants aren’t doing.

Raine Lunke:

Absolutely.

Mac Prichard:

That really makes a difference as a recruiter when you’re looking at resumes?

Raine Lunke:

Absolutely. I can’t spend an enormous amount of time trying to figure out how that person’s experience matches what I’m looking for. It’s got to be clear.

Mac Prichard:

I also just want to give a shoutout to your point about qualifications because I think, often people think if they don’t have 100%, they shouldn’t apply. You did make it clear at the start of our conversation, you need to be qualified, but for you, as a recruiter, the cut-off is 70%.

Raine Lunke:

It is.

Mac Prichard:

That seems kind of low to me. Why is 70% acceptable?

Raine Lunke:

It is and it isn’t. I say 70% because I think that is a good gauge. There are companies where, especially those government/city organizations, those requirements are hard-fast.

Other companies, especially software companies, they often are hiring different levels of candidates and there is a lot more wiggle room there. You don’t want to waste your time applying for positions that you’re just not going to be considered for, and I think 70% is that good mark to focus on those roles that you are qualified for.

Mac Prichard:

For a listener who might be considering applying for a government job, is it 100% or nothing, or is there some wiggle room there?

Raine Lunke:

In my experience, and what I would recommend, if you don’t meet the required skills, don’t bother applying.

Mac Prichard:

For a government job, but in other sectors, there’s flexibility and 70% is a good cut off.

Raine Lunke:

In my experience.

Mac Prichard:

Well, it’s been a terrific conversation, Raine, now tell us, what’s next for you?

Raine Lunke:

Well, I’m here locally, in Portland, and I focus on helping companies here improve their hiring results. I work with companies in regard to improving the process, the hiring process, training internal recruiters and hiring teams, and that’s what my focus is.

My passion is sitting down with job seekers when I have the time to do that and give back in a variety of ways from that front.

Mac Prichard:

Well, I know people can learn more about your new company and your services there by visiting your website, r2rrecruiting.com.

Now, Raine, you’ve given us a great strategy and a lot of good ideas today about how to customize that resume and why to do it.

What’s the one thing you want a listener to remember about how to customize a resume in ten minutes or less?

Raine Lunke:

It’s easy, it’s the Professional Summary. But regardless of that, the biggest thing is having confidence in your resume. If you don’t have confidence, no one else is going to believe in your skills, so use your resume as a vehicle to build up your confidence.

Mac Prichard:

Make the most of the job interviews you get after you customize your resume. Learn how to answer any behavioral interview question.

Get your free copy today of 100 Behavioral Interview Questions You Need to Know.

Go to macslist.org/questions.

On our next show, our guest will be Laurie Erdman. She’s a human resources consultant at Cambia Health Solutions.

Whatever your occupation, you will likely change careers several times. Laurie will share six steps she sees successful career changers take.

Would you like to know what these people do? Join us next week.

Until next time, thanks for letting us help you find your dream job.

While creating the perfect resume takes time and effort, you don’t have to spend hours customizing your resume for each position you apply for. There are some small tweaks you can do in just a few minutes that can be the difference between your resume being reviewed or recycled. Mirroring your resume to use the language the company uses is the first step toward ending up in front of a hiring manager’s eyes, says Find Your Dream Job guest Raine Lunke. Raine also emphasizes the importance of having confidence in your resume, which she says is more important than anything you add to it. 

About Our Guest:

Raine Lunke is an accomplished talent acquisition leader, certified HR professional and first-time entrepreneur.

Resources in This Episode:

  • If you’re interested in working with a recruiter, visit www.r2rrecruiting.com to see Raine’s services.