Job Hunting: Does your Resumé need Pepper?


One important lesson I’ve learned job-hunting (and getting hired) in this economy is this: Just because I’m only one person doesn’t mean I can get by on just one resumé.

I’m not even refering to the fact that I have multiple skillsets. I’m talking about how I sell myself in my primary job search.

Have you ever done a search on Career Builder, Monster, Dice or other job boards? Ever notice the unending variations to what you thought was one job title? Take “Project Manager” – look at just a few variations:

Project Manager
Senior Project Manager
Sr. Project Manager
IT Project Manager
Project Management Specialist
Project Manager II
Project Manager III
Project Associate
Project Assistant

I think you’re getting the idea. But you may be asking, “Where does pepper come in it this?” Good question.

You see, each of the jobs associated with those titles contain keywords peppered throughout. Keywords that are specific to the type of job, company, and level of responsibility.

If you use the same resumé for each position (after all, it’s the same you, right?) you run the risk of missing those automated keyword filters and having your resumé dumped before a human even sees it.

How do you deal with this?

1. Have a master resumé. This is a multi-page document (mine is about 6 pages) with everything you’ve done. You’ll pick out the most relevant experiences for the job you’re applying for. Trim that to (usually) a two page resumé  to submit with the successes most likely to get your resumé to a human.

2. Look for specific needs in the job posting. For instance, if the job needs someone who “works well without direction”,then be sure to include language in your resumé that says you got things done without supervision. Of course, these things need to be true, otherwise don’t say them.

3. Find the specific keywords in the job posting, and use them verbatim (again, when true) in your resumé. If it says you need to be “skilled in C#”, don’t say “expert in c prime”. Say “skilled in C#”. “Expert in Excel pivot-tables” should not become “5 years creating advanced PivotTables”. Make it “Expert in Excel pivot-tables”, then include the five years experience in another line. Pepper them in where they are appropriate.

Side note: One thing I do to be sure I stay consistent is make a copy of each resumé I submit and be sure to attach it to the job posting (I print both out). That wasy when I go in for an interview, I will carry the same copy of the resumé I used to apply for the job.

Yes this takes work. That why the people doing it are getting more interviews, and more jobs, than those who don’t.

If you’re struggling to turn your resumé into an interview, make sure to use the right amopunt of pepper, and that will keep your resumé fresh for the HR folks looking to hire.

Good Hunting!





  1. Hi! I simply want to offer you a huge thumbs up for your excellent information
    you have got right here on this post. I will be returning to your blog for more soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *