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Today's employers hire Subject Matter Experts to solve problems. Managers and executives might not like this, but the day of the Generalist is over.

Now that it's easy to completely customize and individualize a resume to demonstrate Subject Matter Expertise, why would a hiring manager give a second glance at a general resume that didn't exactly match requirements?

Leadership and management skills are no longer searched for skills. Sure, they are still valued, but these skills are now assumed, and validated during an interview – if you get that interview. At the same time, technology life cycles have shortened, and employee turnover has increased. Employers have reacted by hiring problem solvers to make an immediate impact with minimal training or ramp-up time – Subject Matter Experts . Distinctions between contractors and W2 employees have blurred, as more workers embrace advantages of project work. Hiring managers started seeking full time employees to solve problems that consultants solve…for less cost.

Back in the days of paper resumes, sometime between the Declaration of Independence and the year 2000, the common knowledge was to write resumes as generalists. Especially for management level professionals, the "rule of thumb" was to write resumes to appeal to a broad audience, as a generalist.

The reason made sense at the time…resumes were printed on paper then. Your resume HAD to appeal to a broad audience, because it was static. The only way you COULD change it was by changing the cover letter.

But that changed around 2000. Right around the new millennium, job boards exploded, and overtook printed ads. When job boards exploded, HR departments and recruiters responded, by implementing pre-screens that increased efficiency of searches, and enabled hiring managers to micro-target candidate searches. Hiring managers changed their expectations, and expected exact fits…Subject Matter Experts.

And cover letters stopped being considered as part of a search…why look at the cover letter, when a candidate could easily customize their resume?

So, all you generalist managers out there….How will you change your job search strategies to respond?

If you’d like more information, a free 30 minute resume consultation, or some advice about your career transition, just email your resume to reCareered at

Phil Rosenberg
President, reCareered & Rainmakers Global