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Finding Job: How to Present Yourself as a Specialist on Your Resume

Want to get a more interesting job that pays more? The best way is by specializing. In any profession, specialists are valued more and paid higher than people who are perceived as being generalists.
A lot of people don't realize, however, that being considered a "Specialist" has less to do with what you've done than how you present your skills and experience. Start refining your blah, general career into that of a focused, confident specialist by using these steps on your resume.
Look Carefully at Your Raw Material
Take a good look at what you have on your resume, with an eye toward focusing it on one particular field or profession. Most people have a wide range of experience, skills, and credentials, which can be applied to a number of different professions. Note the requirements of the industry or specific position you're trying to get into. Then look at what you have in your resume. Chances are, you have a lot of applicable things listed already, but they're watered down by all the unrelated stuff.
Edit Aggressively
This is the key step that more than anything else takes your resume from generalist to specialist. It's like that old joke about someone asking the sculptor how he carved a perfect female figure. He answers, "I took a hunk of stone and removed anything that didn't look like a beautiful woman!" So it is with making yourself into a specialist. Look at all the things that aren't what you want to specialize in and chop them out of your resume without hesitation. For instance, maybe you want to be known as a specialist in directing and mentoring sales people. But along with your many accomplishments in that specialty, you list details about managing retail operations, doing technical support, and being a purchasing director. Whack! Out comes the axe. Cut it down to what you really want to do, and let the rest slide quickly into the garbage.
Use the Lingo
Look at the industry you're trying to go into and learn its specific terminology and jargon. Then deftly incorporate it when it's appropriate. This can make huge strides in making your resume into that of a true specialist -- an insider in the profession.
But don't overdo it. If your resume is cram-packed with every industry term you can, it gets hard for even the most hardcore veteran in the field to read.
Work the Presentation
There are many ways you can emphasize different points in your resume, including choosing the best resume format, arranging the type, and working the dates. Do whatever you can to set your resume up so that the first thing the reader sees is your best experience for getting a job you want to specialize in.
Top it Off with a Headline
The simplest, most effective way to focus your resume is to put a strong headline at the top. Doing this sets the tone and emphasis for the rest of the resume -- kind of like a thesis statement in a term paper. Craft a headline that blends where you've been with where you're trying to go. In the earlier example of an aspiring sales manager, such a headline might be something like, "Accomplished Manager and Mentor for Sales Professionals." Best of all, even if the hiring manager spends only five seconds reading your resume, he's going to read that statement -- it's big, it's bold, and it's almost at the very top of the page.

Boost Your Credentials
As you're doing these things, do anything you can to add more credentials that support your claim of being a specialist in a particular occupation. Running out and getting another degree can be great -- in the long term. But for now, try quick credential boosters like joining professional organizations, publishing articles on the Web, or attending training seminars. Such quick details can instantly add luster to your assertion of being an accomplished specialist in a field.

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