When looking for tips on writing a great resume, job seekers often read that tailoring their resume is a great idea. However, some candidates may not fully understand the best way to do this to positively impact their prospects. In addition, other candidates may not understand why tailoring a resume for each job is beneficial.
The reality is that hiring managers often receive many job applications, sometimes even hundreds, for each position. These managers then have to review them quickly and narrow down the pool of candidates to a manageable number.
Narrowing down the applications means that hiring managers look for resumes that are the closest fit to the job description for the open position. For this reason, tailoring your resume may be the action that keeps you in the running as other candidates are dismissed.
There are several strategies on how to tailor a resume, including the following key steps:
- Review the job description: The first step in tailoring a resume is reviewing the job description. Next, you can read through it and highlight any information or keywords that stand out. The next step is determining your past work experience and qualifications.
Once you have this information, you can start thinking about how to change your resume and highlight specific information related to this job.
- Use their keywords: Tailoring your job description means showing off your skills and experience in a way that uses their keywords. When hiring managers scan a resume and cover letter quickly, they often look for these keywords. When you can use them in a meaningful way concerning your experience, the manager can quickly determine whether you meet the minimum requirements.
- Compare your information: When you have a strong understanding of what the employer wants, you can compare it to your current resume. This stage starts to get you thinking about changes you need to match the employer’s needs.
You can reorganize your information so that your key qualifications highlight comparable skills and experience. This change ensures the hiring manager will see your skills as a good fit for the open position.
- Update the summary section: The summary section of a resume is usually at the very top. If nothing else, the hiring manager will read this part. This information is the first thing they see, so it is the spot where you should initially focus on showcasing your most relevant skills and experiences.
- Tailor your experience section: Most resume formats also feature your work history prominently. Since many professionals have a long work history, this is the time to go through and omit or shorten those experiences that do not align with the current position’s needs. Again, the hiring manager wants to identify whether you have the required skills or experience quickly.
- Include achievements or results: In addition to experience, many employers are looking for quantifiable data in the experience section. If you have data of this nature, it can help you add it to your bullet points. In addition, this information can demonstrate to the hiring manager that you made an impact at your previous job, which reflects the value of your career and contributions.
- Update the skills section: The summary and experience sections are vital to tailor. You can capture any other skills or experience you may have in the skills section.
- Proofread the entire resume: Proofreading is a step that many candidates skip. There are an average of five errors on most resumes, so those who proofread before submitting have a strong advantage.
- Submit the right resume: You likely have multiple versions for each job if you are tailoring your resume. Be careful with your application packet. If you submit the wrong version, your efforts to tailor the resume won’t matter since you may be focusing on different skills and experiences.
These steps can help you tailor a resume for a specific job, likely increasing your chances of getting an interview. Additionally, incorporating keywords can also ensure your resume makes it past any automated screening features that are part of many applicant tracking systems. In any event, tailoring your resume works in your favor and can help you land a new job.
If you are still uncertain about how to draft a resume for a specific position or undergo a career change, you may want to look for additional online resources. Examples of items that can be helpful include:
- Cover letter examples
- Resume templates
- Resume writing tips
- Strategies for identifying resume keywords
- Career advice from an industry professional
The job market is currently very dynamic, and many companies are undergoing transformational changes in how they operate. As a result, some may also change how they interview and onboard.
Still, tailoring your resume is an excellent strategy for getting an interview, no matter how they function. It shows the employer that your experience aligns with the open position, you are interested enough to put effort into the application material, and you can meet the employer’s needs. Showing this is a great way to ensure you make a positive first impression!