Far too many job-seekers continue to use the same resume for every job application. While this sounds like a great idea in principle, it can prove disastrous in practice. Generic resumes may do an effective job highlighting your skills and experience, but they’re less effective at selling you as the ideal fit for any job opening. To accomplish that feat, you need to rely on a more specific type of resume. You need a resume that is specifically tailored to fit that desired job. In this post, we will offer the tips you need to write that targeted resume.
Generic resumes may have worked decades ago, but that’s no longer the case. Thanks to increased job competition, today’s employers can be more selective about who they hire.
As a result, most are looking for candidates whose resumes line up well with the open position they’re trying to fill. If your resume is generic, chances are that it will be rejected. Instead, hiring managers will focus on your rivals’ resumes – rivals who took the time to create a properly targeted resume.
Through customization, you can create a targeted resume that properly sells your value as an employee. You can tailor your qualifications and employment history to better align with the demands of any open position. Moreover, you can selectively present achievements that demonstrate your value.
Those customization efforts can ensure that your resume has the right tone and detail to present you as the right candidate for the job.
Fortunately, you won’t need to create each resume from scratch. In fact, you should avoid that option.
Instead, you should create one generic resume that contains all the information you need to apply for any job in your field. You can then use that general resume as a template for any tailored resume you need. Simply select the relevant details for your targeted resume, and update information as needed. That way, you don’t have to rewrite everything every time you apply for a job.
For more on tailored resumes, check out our post: How to Tailor Your Resume to Different Positions.
Still, some changes will need to be made. You can minimize those changes and streamline the process by following these useful tips:
A good generic resume usually only requires minor changes to properly create a targeted resume. Your summary should be a focal point for those changes. Once you’ve reviewed the job posting, make changes to your summary to ensure that it properly addresses the qualifications and skills mentioned in that posting. If there are educational requirements, be sure to address those in the summary as well.
An example of a targeted summary:
Remember to mention skills, experience and qualifications that are relevant to the position you’re applying for.
You should also search through your resume to identify the most relevant details that showcase your suitability for the position. Since your finished resume should be no more than one or two pages in length, you should omit irrelevant information. Again, refer to the job posting. What is the employer looking for in a job candidate? Which specific skills and experiences does the company require?
When reviewing any job posting, remember that most include the most important requirements near the beginning of the post. Pay close attention to those requirements, but don’t be dismayed if you don’t meet every single one. Most candidates are unlikely to be a perfect match in that respect. However, chances are that you have comparable skills or experiences that you can mention in your resume.
Resume keywords are essential for any targeted resume. Not only will they ensure that your resume gets read by applicant tracking systems, but their inclusion will more effectively showcase you as a great job candidate.
Remember that most companies use ATS (applicant tracking systems) to automatically screen your resume. You need to keyword optimize the resume with relevant keywords to ensure your resume gets through. As many as 75% of resume are rejected by the ATS and many times it’s because the resume isn’t optimized.
Most job postings include keywords related to the position title, as well as the skills, experience, and credentials the employer requires. Once you identify those keywords, insert them throughout your resume where appropriate.
A core competencies section is the best place to include and easily tailor keywords to whatever position you’re applying for.
Let’s take a look at this target resume example:
Once you’ve created your targeted resume, the next step is to create a targeted cover letter to send along with it. You should do some research on the company and use that knowledge to create a cover letter that shows you’re a great fit for the job and the company’s culture. If you can accomplish that goal, you can dramatically increase your chances of landing an interview.
We wrote a good post here on how to write a cover letter.