One of the worst things you can do when job seeking is to mass distribute your resume. While you may be desperate for a job, this can actually hurt your efforts. Taking the time to tailor your resume to each position can yield better results, especially given that more employers are turning to applicant tracking systems (ATS) to sort through resumes. Sending a targeted resume can help you to better align with the key points an employer is looking for and not be knocked out of the competition right off the bat.
Remember that tailoring your resume does not mean starting from scratch and writing a completely new resume for each job. Your basic career history won’t change much (it is what it is), but what you emphasize might. Here’s how to get started:
- Carefully read through the job description. Highlight key words, skills, and experiences the employer is looking for in a candidate. Make sure that you hit most of these qualifications before applying.
- Swap out your core competencies for skills from the job opening. List the most important ones first and don’t forget to include technical proficiencies as well. If the employer wants someone who can use a specific software program or programming language – and you can – make sure it’s clearly noted in your skills.
- Refocus your brand. Match your title as closely as possible to the available position without lying or exaggerating. (Don’t call yourself a Chief Financial Officer if you never were.) In your summary, make a powerful impression and grab the employer’s attention by accentuating what you bring to the table as it pertains to the job description. Don’t waste precious space describing skills or experience that doesn’t line up with what the employer wants.
- Tweak the content of your resume so that the most essential accomplishments and results are listed first, then descend in order of importance. Use key phrases from the job description exactly as they are listed – don’t try to be fancy and reword them. If the description says “inventory management,” make sure your resume doesn’t say “inventory control.” ATS are scanning for keyword matches, so keep it simple.
- Add metrics where possible to provide quantifiable evidence regarding your accomplishments. Demonstrate your ability to effectively generate cost savings, increase efficiency, or whatever else is relevant.
Don’t let tailoring your resume stress you out. Take it one step at a time. Once you’re done, compare your resume to the job description to ensure that there is a clear connection for why you are a strong candidate. Ask a friend or family member to review it and see if they think it matches up, and also to check for any spelling or grammar mistakes.
Instead of applying for any and every job, concentrate on the ones which are the best fit for your experience and interests. Submitting a solid resume that portrays you as a strong candidate for the role can increase your chances of landing an interview. Grammar Chic can help you tailor your resume for type of role you seek and shed light on the key elements a potential employer is looking for.