Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes that job hunters make is not customizing their resume to each job. Especially since you only have a page or two to work with, each bullet point is crucial. Sure, you can list everything you’ve ever done in your professional experience section, but odds are you’ll still need to reword to get it right.
Not to mention, many resumes in this day and age go through the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) before a human ever sees it. Customizing your resume helps you get through that initial review.
Why You Should be Customizing Your Resume
Unfortunately, most hiring managers quickly scan each resume. They decide in a minute whether or not they want to interview someone. Customizing your resume means quickly giving them what they want. You can have the most impressive resume ever, but if it doesn’t appear to work for the job, then you won’t get an interview. Which is what it’s all about.
By customizing your resume, you’re telling the hiring manager that you’re invested in this job. You’ve read the job description. You understand how your previous work is relevant. You’ve taken the time to make sure your resume works.
Customizing your resume increases your chances of getting noticed.
How to do it
The most important thing to consider when customizing your resume is keywords. Keywords are words or phrases that you can put into your resume that apply to the job you want.
How do you find keywords? The job description. Read through it several times. Do they talk about needing proficiency in a specific program? Do they want someone with experience working with children? Do they need a person who can operate a specific type of machinery?
Incorporate these keywords into your resume. Reword your bullet points to make it clear that you have the necessary experience and the specific qualifications they’re looking for. If you have space, add a skills section that clearly states any applicable skills.
(For the record, this is the same advice I would give for your cover letter too.)
Another important factor is what sections to include. Often times, I don’t include my volunteer experience. It doesn’t feel relevant to the job I’m applying for. But I have applied to jobs where some of my applicable experience comes entirely from my volunteer work. That meant I needed to add a volunteer section that explained my duties.
Think in the same terms. Do you need an objective because you’re changing fields? Do you belong to any relevant organizations? Do you have any relevant volunteer experience? If they’re relevant, and only if they’re relevant, be sure to include them.
- Often times, hiring managers only read the first few bullet points. Order your bullet points accordingly with the most relevant being at the top.
- Delete any bullet points that don’t work in your favor. Keep them if they’re relevant.
- Research the company too. Go through their website and see what is important to them. Try to incorporate that as well. The more you can customize your resume, the better.
This is just some general advice for the average job hunter. Every situation is different. As long as you’re tailoring your resume to the job description, you’re in good shape. But if you’re still looking for advice, and you’re not sure if your resume is as strong as it can be, reach out today, and find out how I can help!