Tailoring Your Resume for Each Job Listing

Portfolio Mailer Scott Kellum via Compfight

If you’ve sent out hundreds of resumes but still aren’t getting any responses, it may be due to a lack of customization. Due to resume filtering software used by many companies, only applications that contain the right words can get through to hiring managers. And even when human eyes see your resume, they generally only scan it looking for keywords or phrases. So how can you increase your chances of landing an interview in the age of software and busy hiring managers? Learn how to tailor your resume for each and every job. Some tips for resume customization:

Summarize

It’s important that your resume summary of qualifications contain the basic information that a hiring manager needs to know. Your summary should include all or most of the required education, skills, and experience listed for the position for which you are currently applying. Even within the same industry, each position will emphasize different skills so a generic summary section won’t work if you want to be competitive.

Keyword Search

In order to get your resume past the filtering software, it’s crucial to use the right keywords. Knowing which words to use is pretty simple – just look for frequently used words or phrases in the job description. Words in bold, in headings, or under required qualifications are particularly important. Just be careful not to overuse keywords and don’t randomly insert them anywhere because stuffing keywords is just as bad as having none at all. If you can’t find a way to make the keywords fit easily into your resume, then maybe the position isn’t right for you.

Highlight the Important

The most relevant skills and experience should be easiest to see as one scans the resume. How do you know which information to highlight? Just as you do with keywords, use information that’s repeated in the job listing. Highlighting may involve using slightly bolder or larger font, placing information first in a list, and elaborating on the most relevant experience. It also helps to leave out things that might detract the viewer from important points, which leads to the next piece of advice.

Eliminate Irrelevant Information

Just as you should highlight relevant skills and accomplishments, you should also remove information that doesn’t relate to the position for which you are applying. Since the information you remove might be useful in the future, save all skills and other information in a master document that you can pull from when you craft each new resume. There may be some irrelevant things that must be left in, for example work history, but you can still highlight transferable skills and leave out  specific experience that wouldn’t prove valuable in the position you’re now seeking.

For more resume tips, read Knock ’em Dead Resumes: How to Write a Killer Resume That Gets You Job Interviews (Resumes That Knock ’em Dead)

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