How to Tailor Your Resume for the Job You Want

February 2016

There are plenty of resources available to help jobseekers with resumes, however many of today’s applicants are making the same common mistake and taking a one size fits all approach to writing them. While your resume might reflect your strong skill set and work history, not taking the time to tailor the resume to the particular job you’re applying for can jeopardize your chances of getting a call back.

The best place to for jobseekers to start when it comes to customizing resumes is to focus on the job description. Check out the below tips on how to create a tailor-made resume that will help you avoid getting lost in the giant sea of applications.

Tailored Titles

While some of today’s job titles can be rather arbitrary, others describe specific skill sets and certifications. Do your best to match your target job title to the one in the job posting. Including the title near the top of the resume will increase your chances of having the right person find your application.

Order is Key

Once you've determined what title to include, it is crucial to establish the most important criteria for the position and order your resume so that those skills come first. While many believe that work experience must be included in the first section, there is no rule that says something more specific can’t come before the general work history. Determining what about your resume is most relevant to the position will help you order it in a way that makes sense. 

What Are You Worth?

While using language that mirrors that of the responsibilities in the job advertisement when listing your qualifications is an obvious way to tailor the resume, taking time to research what the company is looking for in terms of soft skills will make your resume stand out that much more. Finding ways to insert personality traits that will be in line with the overall goals of the team or company is a great way to show value beyond the basic requirements. 

Why Are You Applying?

The best test to determine whether or not you’ve successfully tailored your resume to the desired position will be allowing someone else, whether it be a friend or a recruiter, to review it. They should be able to discover through reading your resume why you’re interested in applying to the position, and how you will contribute to the organization.

Tailoring resumes to each individual job one applies for can seem like an arduous task, but it will increase your chances of making it through the resume screening phase and getting an interview. Spending more time up front will save you the time in the long run--not only will you apply to less positions, but you will be more prepared for the interview stage.