Let us get this out in the open right at the outset – there is no one-size-fits-all resume.
Just like there is no single suit that fits every body type, there is no single resume that will suit the needs of every employer or position.
As such, the resume you put together for one job will not necessarily be suited to the other. When looking for a job, far too many candidates (even those with years of experience) will craft a generic resume and send it to as many employers as possible. A more effective and strategic approach is to adjust and modify your resume to match each position you are applying for.
Here are three simple steps to follow to tailor your resume for a specific job description.
1. Carefully read the job description and research the employer.
This may seem obvious, but you would be surprised just how many people skip this step.
Read the job description. Not just where it talks about how many years of work experience you need or what you can expect as a salary, but the whole description. Your objective while reading is to identify what the company is looking for in an ideal candidate. Take note of specific keywords or soft and hard skills that are mentioned.
But do not just stop at the job description. Visit the employer’s website and social media pages to get a flavor of its culture and tone.
2. Match your resume’s content with what you identified in your research.
Now that you better understand the company and what the job requires, it is time to alter the content of your resume. For example, if the job description identified certain soft or hard skills an ideal candidate would have, be sure to include those skills in your resume (assuming you possess those skills – do not lie!). Work in specific key words you noted from the job description in your resume.
Also, try your best to craft the tone of your resume to match the tone of the company.
Finally, make sure you revise the descriptions under your previous positions so that you are highlighting experiences and roles that fit with what the employer included in the job description.
3. Reorder your resume with the most important information at the top.
It is not enough to simply have the right content in your resume. You must also prioritize the right content so that the recruiter or hiring manager reviewing your resume sees it.
As you can imagine, recruiters and hiring managers are tasked with reading many different applications. Thus, they can spend very little time on each resume. To account for this, put the most important information at the top of your resume.
You can tell what is most important by reading the job description and seeing what the employer emphasizes most. If they want a candidate with solid grades from a top-ranked school, you can assume education should go up top. But if the job description wants someone with industry experience, you should prioritize your previous jobs.
In reading this, you may be thinking you do not have the time to spend revising each resume for every job you apply for. While crafting each resume will certainly take more time than firing off the same, generic resume to every open position, it will also be far more efficient. In the long run, the time you spend writing a few well-tailored resumes will be far shorter than the hours upon hours you spend applying to hundreds of jobs because your common resume is not catching any eyes.
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