Finding a balance between being generic and overly-specialized in a career path is easier said than done. Something that I have noticed while creating professional documents, such as a resume or cover letter, is that advice on how to do so varies from person to person. I have gotten my resume reviewed by multiple people and each person seems to have their own definition of what a quality resume should look like. While having perspectives from multiple people has been helpful, it has also led me to confusion wondering why I have received so many different guidelines. In my opinion, whether or not a balance between being generic and overly-specialized in a career path exists is completely dependent on those reviewing your documents.
Gershon’s, “Being Generic — and Not — in the Right Way,” discusses how, “the job market is unpredictable,” while also referring to the, “general outlines of how to produce the right documents and appropriate social interactions that could lead to a job” (Gershon, 61). Parallel to my opinion about the quality of a document depending on whom is reading it, she states, “Figuring out what makes you distinctive is an act of interpretation, but how people will read your efforts to portray yourself as distinctive also depends on context-specific interpretations. After all, these forms are then evaluated by people who see their workplaces as distinctive and are trying to find people who can fit in with that workplace’s complicated collection of people” (Gershon, 62). As a senior applying for jobs, I have found that all employers vary on what they are looking for in employees. Because of this, our documents provided to them must change constantly in order to cater to the position we are applying for. By tailoring a resume to the particular position of which you are applying for through skills shown through related experience, it is possible that you may stand out compared to others that simply list general skills and experience. The link below is a good read on why you should have multiple versions of your resume. In relation to the reading, a, “submitted resume is supposed to be rewritten, from a person’s generic template of a resume, for that particular job, and thus for the handful of people at a specific company who will be selecting job candidates” (Gershon, 69–70).
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In order to properly stand out to employers, other tasks must also be completed other than just tailoring your resume. One of these tasks is creating a LinkedIn profile. In comparison to a changing resume, “LinkedIn profiles are public, online, and composed with the broadest professional audience in mind” (Gershon, 70). When it comes to a LinkedIn profile, I believe it is more difficult to be unique. The reason for this is because you have to keep your profile somewhat general in order to, “connect to as many jobs as possible” (Gershon, 71). Because I have a wide range of interests in regards to types of jobs that I am open to, I often wonder if my LinkedIn page is suitable enough for various employers. Reaching out to others and learning from people’s mistakes can be extremely helpful in improving our own weaknesses on our marketing tools. Similar to there being guidelines on how to create a resume, I found the article below that gives advice to job seekers attempting to have a strong LinkedIn profile.
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I think it is easier to blend in with other applicants when it comes to LinkedIn profiles. If anything is to make an applicant stand out on LinkedIn, I believe it would be impressive and related work experience as well as recommendations. With that work experience standing out, it is possible that further explanation of that experience on your resume could make you more unique during the recruiting process. In order to accentuate strengths to potential employers, one should exemplify how these strengths were incorporated into work experience. For example, one of my strengths is that I am good at collaborating with others to solve problems. To provide an example of this rather than simply stating it, I can explain that I worked within a credit department at a private bank in which I had to work with and communicate with credit analysts and the cash department in order to appropriately handle customer accounts. In the past two months, I have learned that many of the employers of which I am interested in applying to value team work. Luckily, I have played team sports my entire life and have plenty of experience with working with others while also being a leader within a group. Although I am bias due to my status as a student athlete, I truly believe that collegiate student athletes represent many qualities that employers appreciate. I must not be the only person to think this based on how many articles I found written on the topic, one of which is below.
Why Your Next Employee Should Be A Former Student Athlete
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Gershon, Ilana. “Being Generic — and Not — in the Right Way.” Down and out in the New Economy How People Find (or Don’t Find) Work Today, The University of Chicago Press, 2017, pp. 61–88.
Popov, Andrey, et al. “Photos, Illustrations Et Vidéos De Balance.” Fotolia — Acheter Et Vendre Des Photos, Images, Vecteurs Et VidÃ©Os, Fotolia, fr.fotolia.com/tag/balance.
“6 Benefits of Team Collaboration.” 6 Benefits of Team Collaboration | EzTalks, www.eztalks.com/unified-communications/benefits-of-team-collaboration.html.