Creating a Target Resume

So now you have a huge mess of a master resume. Depending on your background/experiences it should be somewhere between 2-4 typed pages but don’t worry if its longer (if its shorter….like I was saying last time go volunteer get some more experience for sure, mine is 3.5 pages). Now you will use that to create a Target Resume. What is that? It is your opportunity to tailor your resume to an exact posting. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to throw everything out there. Their master resume and their target resume are used interchangeably. Think about it from a human resources/ hiring perspective…how many resumes are they going through? Do they really care about your high school dance team if the job has nothing to do with dance? Probably not. In fact they are probably going to skim your resume because no one has time to read it thoroughly and seeing those things could be a huge distraction. Keep it to the point. Show them why you are the perfect candidate for that specific job. I often heard people say I can look over your resume, or I can get so-and-so to look at it because they are in HR, the problem with that is they are probably going to look at your master resume which doesn’t really captivate a target resume and when you see a posting you only have so long to get it in before the deadline. Getting peoples opinions can be important but if you are looking for feedback…look and work fast!

Lets look at an example of how I would create a target resume.

Below is a posting I just pulled from the City of Edmonton Website ( for Childcare Attendant, I have childcare experience within the City and the qualifications aren’t crazy so it makes this posting a really easy example. When I find a job posting I am interested in I like to print it off and attack it with a red pen. What you see below in bold is the kind of things I would write down on the posting in red.

Our Childcare Attendants have great opportunities to learn about childcare and child development through the City’s programs that include a variety of age appropriate activities As a Recreation Technician  and previous Childcare Attendant I worked for the city with children and youth varying from 6 months to 17 years old and environments I have worked in several locations throughout the City and at various environments including daycares, public parks, schools, community halls & events, public locations that encourage positive social development I have a degree in psychology and am a level 2 childcare provider. I have experience and education in social development and developmental milestones.  We are currently looking for Childcare Attendants to work at Kinsmen Sports & Fitness Centre, Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre and Terwillegar Community Recreation Centre. I drive and am willing to travel
Responsibilities include:
  • Creating structured and unstructured programming incorporating crafts, story time, songs, games, movement and other age appropriate activities 
  •      I have created craft manuals for working with children 6 months to 17 years old that are engaging and require minimal supplies, I have a history in music having 6 years experience in band/choir and having directed a small church choir for a while, I understand the importance of movement through my experience in recreation.
  • Being actively engaged in the safety, well-being and development of children 
  •       As a previous City of Edmonton Employee I understand that Policies and Procedures are set out for a reason and I understand that the well-being of children comes first. I am familiar with the City’s incident policies and have dealt with previous emergencies in a calm manner following all appropriate steps. I am always open to further training especially regarding policies specific to this position.
  • Encouraging children’s social, physical and emotional development in a positive manner 
  •     Touched on this with Psych degree and background
  • Maintaining the highest level of health and safety for the indoor facility, including the physical space (walls, floors, and all surfaces), toys, furniture, equipment and fixtures 
  •     Touched on this with policy and procedure. I understand that cleanliness is of upmost importance to the health and safety of the children and that cleaning thoroughly is part of this position
  • Other related duties as assigned

To visualize what it is like to be on our team, visit The City of Edmonton Talent Hub




  • Direct experience working with children preschool age and under  Check! Worked in 2 daycares, Recreation, and Childcare Attendant
  • Ability to interact with children in play activities and maintain a safe environment  Check (see above)
  • Must be at least 18 years of age or older  Check I am a twenty-something (note: they cannot legally ask you your age in an interview. One good way around this? Ask to see your high school diploma. You may have graduated when you were 17 but if you have been out of school for at least a year….)
  • Current Standard First Aid and Level C CPR are required prior to commencing employment  Check. Due for renewal June 2014 
  • First Aid in Child Care with Level C CPR is an asset  Silly City put the same qualification in twice!
  • All employees must be able to attend staff training and meetings   Check! I really want this position I will make myself available for all training opportunities
  • An original Police Information Check, including Vulnerable Sector Check, issued within the past 6 months that is satisfactory to the employer will be required before starting in the position. The new hire will be required to obtain this check from Edmonton Police Service. Please note, this may take up to 3 weeks to process Check! I still have one on file with the City that is current….otherwise I am willing to get a new one no problem!


Ok, so that helps direct both my target resume and my cover letter (which we aren’t going to talk about for a couple more weeks). When I am done  marking the posting all up I ask myself do I have any other skills that make me more desirable? Any areas that I can go above and beyond on that I didn’t already write down? Well not only did I work with children but I trained and supervised the people who work with children, I have formal customer service training, both daycares I worked at I was the “floater” meaning I had to gain familiarity with children and build repoire quickly across many different ages  I became adapt at switching my tone etc immediately to suite the age I was working with, I have experience working with children who have witnessed trauma including violence in the home and understand they may appear to be developmentally stunted and have trouble trusting/connecting with others.  etc.


Do you see how the target resume has kind of written itself now?  Knowing what they are looking for and how my skills line up (and how my skills go beyond) makes the next process easy. Open a new word document and save it immediately. I always save my applications as  my last name, resume and the competition number. So like Lightyear Resume Co 145678 but you can save it as whatever makes sense for you. Then start picking from your master resume. Copy over your education and the applicable jobs, skills, certificates, volunteer experiences etc.  Wha-la! A Perfect Target Resume.

The next question is how do you make your resume visibly appealing and how do you organize it all? We shall discuss that next time!


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