As a job-seeker, it’s frustrating to discover that your resume just isn’t connecting with hiring managers. One problem is that far too many people create one resume and use it for every application they submit. That approach is never going to give you the best chance of landing the quality job that you need. To maximize your odds of getting hired, you need to learn how to tailor your resume to different positions.
Think about things from a hiring manager’s perspective for a moment. If you’re trying to fill a customer service manager position, what do you want to see? Do you want to review a generic resume that could apply to any job? Or would you prefer one that seems as though it was written with your company in mind? The answer should be obvious.
The fact is that you need to tailor your resume to have any real chance against other applicants. That’s the only way to ensure that you are properly addressing a given company’s job requirements. This is also the best way to demonstrate that you’re the right person for the open position. A non-specific resume simply can’t achieve that objective.
Do you need multiple versions of your resume? No – you can easily tailor your resume if it’s formatted properly.
Don’t forget to use your title to declare your goals. The title of each resume that you send out should be specific and directed toward that open position.
Don’t just use a title that says, “Marketing Manager” if the open position calls for a Director of Marketing. Use that designation instead, and back it up with some qualifications. For example, write “Director of Marketing – Master’s Degree and seven Years Marketing Management Experience.”
We wrote a good post on crafting the perfect resume title here.
Your summary is another powerful tool that can help you tailor your resume. To make maximum use of it, you should begin by identifying the employer’s desired qualifications. You can then work to align your qualifications with those requirements, and modify your summary accordingly. You must remove anything that isn’t relevant to the position, and add qualifications and other information that supports your candidacy. Of course, you also need to make sure that you list the most important qualifications first.
Like everything else we’ve mentioned, core competencies can be tweaked to better suit a given position. In fact, core competencies can be one of the most important resume areas that you can change to get your resume noticed. Since the core competencies in your resume should align with the keywords used in the job description, you can use that to your advantage.
Here is an example of a core competencies section where you can easily tailor your keywords to the job description:
For example, if a position requires web design/development experience – you want to ensure that those keywords are on the resume.
Remember, core competencies include your entire knowledge base and skill sets. When you develop your resume, you should make sure that these competencies are detailed using the job description keywords. That can help you in two important ways:
Your core competencies should always be a summary of those skills and knowledge. You should use short phrases to describe the skills. List those core competencies in your summary to ensure that hiring managers see them. That helps to dispel any doubts about whether you’re qualified for the job by directly answering that question as early in the resume as possible.
There’s another reason why keywords are such an important part of your resume-tailoring process. Put simply, they’re easy to manage. All you need to do is identify relevant keywords from a job description and insert those keywords in place of others in your resume. The core competencies section is a great place to easily swap keywords in and out as shown above.
By placing the right job keywords in the right place in the resume, you can satisfy those applicant scanners and human readers. In addition, your uploaded resume on LinkedIn will be easier for recruiters to find online.
This may be more difficult to do when you’re applying for many different jobs, but it is effective. If there is only a handful of positions you’re applying to, then you should be tweaking your experience section. As tempting as it might be to just leave your employment history intact for each submission, that can be a missed opportunity. You should tweak job descriptions and achievements to ensure that they more closely align with the job you’re seeking. Customize those entries so that they shine a spotlight on skills and achievements that demonstrate your ability to handle the new position.
You should also be tailoring your cover letter to each position you apply to. You can check out our article on how to tailor your cover letter.
While it might take some effort to tailor your resume for different position, it is an absolute necessity if you want to get noticed these days. Generic resumes just won’t cut it anymore. You can use a well-tailored resume to maximize your odds of job-search success. So, learn to tailor your resume the right way; chances are that it’s just what you need to finally get that job you deserve.