How Do I Hit the Bulls Eye When There is No Target?

Last week was full of great career-related events, not the least of which was the webinar Camille Roberts and I gave with the help of everyone at GovLoop. At one point, there were over 600 people in attendance. Thank you all for joining us and asking such great questions.

There were also a number of career fairs in the DC-area last week, including the huge GW spring career and internship fair. Close to 1000 of our students and alumni met with the almost 100 employers in attendance.

It’s definitely feeling like spring. (The very non-winter like weather helps too.)

One question I am asked in relation to career fairs, and informational interviews, is “What resume should I use when I there isn’t a specific position I want to apply to?”

In other words, how do you write a targeted resume when there isn’t a specific target?

There is a GREAT way to write a “focused general resume” appropriate for federal and non-federal career fairs, informational interviews, networking events, etc.

Find positions that really interest you and write your resume for those positions

Have you ever come across a position that really speaks to you, but is beyond your experience level? Or have you ever met someone who has a really amazing job in a field/area that is perfect for you? Pay attention to these feelings and set your sights on these positions

Pretend to apply to these positions and write your resume in their language, even if they are beyond your reach. When you do this for “stretch” positions — those jobs that may be just out of your reach — you will include all the right skills, key words, and accomplishments that will be familiar to the positions you can apply to.

And don’t focus solely on available positions either. If you know someone in a position that really appeals to you, ask to see their position description. Use that to write an amazing resume and ask you contact for feedback.

With your new “focused general resume,” employers in your field will recognize most the language you are using and have a better idea of your interests and abilities.

Finally, an amazing resource to use in this process is OPM’s Federal Classification and Job Grading System. Check out all the terrific information in the Functional Guides for all federal positions, and use the Classification Standards to identify positions that you may never have thought of.

Good luck with all your searches and enjoy the spring weather, where ever you are.

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Andrew Krzmarzick

Hey Paul – In going to a job fair, what do you think about finding out the agencies that will be there, researching a few vacancies and crafting some targeted resumes to those positions? It might mean creating 3-4 different versions for the different agencies/positions, so wondering if that investment of time up front would pay off if you’re able to put that kind of resume in someone’s hands at the fair.