The Resume Match Is Up to You

Don’t expect that the resume screener is an expert. It’s up to you (and your resume) to direct the conversation and match you to the job.

If it’s done right, your resume is an inventory of your interests, skills, accomplishments, experience, goals and values that attempts to match you to a job that requires those interestes, skills, accomplishments, experience and values.

Sounds simple, and it is, says Tamryn Hennessy, national director of career development for Rasmussen College. Or, at least it should be. But job seekers often fail to compile the right kind of inventory and thus, they can’t be matched to the right job, she said.

You want your resume to direct the conversation with a resume screener before you ever meet her, she said.

To begin, Hennessy said the advice is simple: Don’t expect that the resume reader is an expert. You, as a potential employee, must facilitate the matchmaking process for your potential employer. “Too often, we assume that hiring managers have expertise in culling resumes and candidates,” Hennessy said. “In a time when companies are deluged with applications, it’s up to the candidate to make himself the obvious choice.”

Hennessy’s recommended resume steps:

  1. Identify the key transferable skills that have led you to successful outcomes in your previous work, regardless of the industry you worked in.
  2. Circle key action words on the employer’s job description.
  3. Embed those action words into your executive summary and bulleted skills list and wherever you detail your successful outcomes in previous positions.
  4. Remove as much clutter as you can from the rest of the resume. Even if it’s interesting, it can drown out your action words, Hennessy said.

This tactic clearly delineates how you, as a candidate, match the job position, Hennessy said. It will also focus the discussion in the direction you desire.

A Resume That Reflects the Technique

Hennessy worked with a 41-year-old woman who sought work as a registered health information technician. Here’s the job listing that caught her eye, with key words in bold:

Health Information Coordinator: [Company name] is a 154-bed skilled-care facility that has been caring for the elderly for over 100 years. We are currently looking for a part-time coordinator (32-36 hours per week) in the Medical Records department. The successful candidate needs to be a Credentialed Registered Health Information Technician in long-term care. Must have Health Information knowledge of regulations, survey processes and accreditation standards, and an understanding of payment systems including Medicare and Medicaid. Knowledge and application of ICD-9-CM coding, along with strong written and oral skills, is a must. The successful candidate must be computer literate and have an understanding of information systems used in LTC.

And here’s an excerpt from the executive summary and skills list she and Hennessy came up with, including action words that reflect the job listing in bold.


Customer Service Professional experienced in project management, organizational development and customer satisfaction. Expertise in coding and transcription through a recently obtained Health Information Technician degree.
Core HIT Strengths:
Computer Information Systems ● Medical Terminology ● ICD-9-CM & CPT Coding ● Ambulatory Care Coding ● Pathology I, II ● Medical Insurance and Billing ● Quality Analysis and Management ● Medical Law & Ethics ● Health Care Info Technologies ● Mgmt of Health Info Services

The resume drew the attention of the resume screener who made the connection Hennessy’s client intended: that she was a stratgic fit for the job. She nailed the interview and was hired because the resume put her in the right direction.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Tamryn Hennessy is female. She was incorrectly identified as male in a previous version of this article.