Friday Forum – How to Tailor a Resume to a Job Posting?

Welcome to the Friday Forum!

Every Friday, we take a question submitted by one of our readers and have our professionals field it and provide advice.  We then encourage members of the Need a New Gig community to comment below and give their take!

Here is This Week’s Question:

CJ asks:

“Hi, I have been looking for a new job for a few months and I haven’t had much luck.  I have been applying and sending out copies of my resume, but I don’t seem to be getting anywhere.  I was recently talking about it with a friend and he asked if I tailor my resume to each potential opening?  Honestly, I updated my resume with my recent experience and have been using the same one for each job.  How do I tailor my resume to a specific job posting?  Do you think it will actually help my chances of getting an interview?”

In today’s job market it can be tough to break through that initial resume screen and get an interview.  Online job postings have made applying for jobs easier then ever, which means hiring managers and recruiters are going through hundreds of resumes at a time.  With that being said, it is imperative that you sell yourself as best you can on your resume.  By tailing your resume with the applicable skills it will help get past that initial screening, which could be the hardest part!

How To Tailor Your Resume?

Customizing your resume for a job posting should not be a mind-numbing task.  There is no right or wrong way to do it since there are many different resume formats.  The key here is to understand the job that you are applying for and think about how your skills and experience transfer.

Analyze the Job Description.

Your first order of business should be to sit down and read through the job description with a fine tooth comb.  As you read through, highlight the most important aspects of the potential job and also anything that you could speak to based on your previous experience.  It may sound silly that we recommend reading through the description, but you would be surprised.  There are many applicants who only read through the first few lines and then submit their information.  I have also had candidates, who have “browsed” the description and have missed out on skills or experience that they possess that should have been added on to their resume.

optmiize_your_resume_1

Be Bold.

Now that you have figured out exactly what the hiring manager is looking for, it is time to put it where they will see it!  Take the relevant experience that you have and put it at the top.  Maybe it is your current position, maybe its a specific software program, or even a specific certification or degree.  Whatever it is, be sure to make it your first section on your resume.

This can be done in a number of ways.  There is no perfect format for a resume.  Sure, some professionals may say you shouldn’t include an objective statement or that education should be in a specific place, but you need to do what is going to stand out and get their attention.  Here are some are examples of where this information can be placed:

  • objective statement
  • “about me” section
  • skills section
  • education section
  • dive right into work experience

The main goal is to get the hiring manager to see what they are looking for and move you along to the next step in the process.

Bullets.

Once you have your relevant experience at the top of your resume, it is important to make sure that it continues through the rest of your document. Remember all of the important stuff that you highlighted off of the job description?  Now is the time to go through your work history and add in anything relevant.  Also, don’t forget to include soft skills as well.  I’m sure that the description listed attributes like communication and team work, so don’t be afraid to highlight those as well.  Finally, take out any bullet points that aren’t necessary.

Conclusion

Tailoring your resume is absolutely necessary if you are a jobseeker in today’s wold.  Making small adjustments could be the difference maker when it comes to reaching the next step in the process.  With that being said, don’t overthink it.  There is no need to “re-write” your resume for each job that you apply to.  Add in the relevant information, submit your resume, and wait to see what happens!

Other Resources

Here are a few additional resources that may help when it comes to tailoring your resume!

Jobscan – This is a resume optimization tool which will analyze your resume compared to the job description and basically do the work for you.  It will identify negative keywords, make recommendations, and help make your resume a better overall match for the position.

5 Things You Must Cut From Your Resume

How Long Do Employers Look At My Resume?

What are Your Thoughts? Comment Below!

Dan Metz is the Director of Executive Search and Employee Development at the Resilience Group, LLC, and Co-Founder and Contributing Author for Need a New Gig.  Follow his blog for more great tips like this!

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