Although how we go about finding a job has changed, the resume still acts as the heartbeat of almost any job search. It tells the story of your professional life, educational background, and sells your experience to potential employers. Which is why it’s so surprising how little attention is sometimes paid to its development.
Your resume isn’t a one-size-fits-all affair. After all, no two positions are exactly alike — so why would you submit the same resume for each opportunity? What you end up with is a very generic retelling of your job and education experience that could lead to an automatic dismissal from the candidate pool.
Instead of sending a blanket resume to multiple postings, take a personalized approach and work on one opening at a time. It’ll give you the chance to tailor your resume to fit the job — and the job description, at that — increasing your chances of landing an interview.
The following will help get you started:
1. Get to know the job. Sit down with the job description and read it. Take a highlighter to the points that stand out, particularly those mentioned time and time and again. Note any points that correlate directly to your skills and experience. Knowing these details before will help you speak to the role.
2. Cater to keywords. Review your current resume and compare it to the job description. Are you using some of the same terminology to describe your skills and past experience? If not, incorporate these keywords into your narrative. Keywords draw attention directly to your relevant experience.
3. Refine the content. Space is at a premium when it comes to resumes, so try to feature only those accomplishments most in line with the responsibilities of the role. If it’s not pertinent to the job or company, omit it. Including irrelevant skills and achievements could draw attention away from more important details.
4. Illustrate your value. Starting off strong is the best option. While opinions vary about including an objective, no one can argue the importance of a value statement. Devote some time to summarizing the value you bring to the company — and make sure to tie the statement back to what the employer is looking for.
5. Compare your resume and the job posting side-by-side. Before sending off that resume, make sure it’s clear why you’re applying for the job. Does it highlight the hard and soft skills required of the role? You don’t need to check all of the boxes, but this can tell you whether you’ve done a good job tailoring your resume to the role.
6. Do the tech test. Plenty of tools and platforms are available to optimize your resume for the job. Jobscan, for example, compares your resume with a job description to see how it stacks up. Even better, the service is free!
Taking the time to tailor your resume for each position makes you an active participant in your job search. By spending more time on this step, you will create a positive first impression with your recruiter and ensure that you stand out in the pile of generic resumes. It will also keep you engaged with the process, and even help you to prepare for a potential interview.
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