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Luckily, there are some tips that you can apply to tailor your resume to a specific job by finding the skills and keywords recruiters are looking for, ranking them, and putting them strategically on your resume. Nowadays, many companies use softwares to filter, so a lot of resumes don’t even reach human eyes, and when they do, they scan them for no more than 30 seconds.
1. Read the job description and identify what’s most important for the company
The key to making your resume really interesting to a company is to tailor it to the job description. In other words, use the job description to figure out their needs and priorities and then make your CV mirror that.
Read the job description carefully and ask yourself:
– What responsibilities/skills do they list first? Which ones are mentioned lower down and might be least important?
– Are any themes or requirements repeated throughout? E.g. creative thinking, multitasking, oral communication, etc.
– What specific qualifications and experience the employer is looking for?
2. Identify keywords and strategic phrases
Highlight keywords and specific skills listed in the job description, and include them in your resume.
If the job description requests for ‘independent worker and self-starter’ or ‘good written communication skills,’ make sure you get those words or phrases on your CV.
Lots of employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan resumes before they are seen by recruiters.
ATS software scans applications for specific keywords or phrases related to the role. If your resume doesn’t include these words and phrases, it probably won’t make it past this selection stage.
3. Make your resume fit with the job description
Now that you understand what the company wants, look at your resume and tailor it to the job description, starting by matching the most important things on the job description with the most visible areas on your CV.
Put your most relevant experience first.
– Start writing your work experience section with skills and qualifications that are found in the job description, even if they were the less important part of your daily responsibilities.
For example, if the job description emphasized managing social media campaigns, don’t write your individual accomplishments first.
Prioritize more relevant/impressive tasks towards the top.
– Now you need to pull out the relevant bits of those experiences.
For example, if you are applying for a sales management role, your focus should emphasize your leadership value —leading the business decisions, managing teams, and making business judgment calls. However, if you are applying for a salesman position in a clothing store, you will need to focus on sales results, revenue growth, and fashion business development in your bullet points.
Lastly, the additional experience section of your resume it’s the proper place for you to make known why you’re qualified for the position and a good cultural fit for the company.
Let’s say you’re applying to a human resources manager role and you had volunteered in different committees on three organizations, one at a time: first on finance, then on cultural events, and finally on human resources.
You can mention all three committees’ experiences down on your resume, but share details only about your work on the third one, human resources, because that’s the relevant experience for the job you’re going after.
If you’re looking for your first job, apply the same concept, tailoring your education and other related experience instead.
4. Put your most relevant experience first
Modify the order of your CV so that your most relevant experience comes first. This might be a previous role, qualifications or training, or some freelance work you did on the side.
5. Review everything
Once you covered everything on your resume in terms of the job description, ask yourself:
– Will the company be able to clearly see why I chose to apply for this position and why I am interested?
– Does everything fit and make sense with the requested profile?
Finally, ask a friend to read your resume. If someone else can explain why you’re interested in the position just based on reading your resume, good news, you’re on the right track. But, if your friend can’t understand why you’re applying or how you’re a good fit, then your resume needs more adjustments.
Additional resume tailoring tips
– Never lie on your resume. Few applicants have every skill and meet every qualification. Tailoring your resume is about making sure the recruiter or hiring manager notices the ones you do have.
– Using bullet points instead of big paragraphs on your resume will make your matching qualifications more skimmable.
– Always write your skills in context. Corporate recruiters need to understand how and why you used a skill.
– Use accomplishments measurables (dollar amounts, percentages, number of people, etc.) to prove your effectiveness.
– If a cover letter is required, you need to tailor it to match the job description as well. Don’t make the mistake of sending a generic cover letter. Make sure you add keywords to your cover letter and avoid repeating exactly what’s in your CV.
– Do not use complex designs that may result in rejection by an automated system, just because the algorithm did not understand the content.
Keyword: A word or concept of great significance.
“Having the right resume keywords is even more critical when technology enters the mix.”
Tailored: Made or changed especially to be suitable for a particular situation or purpose.
“The project clearly requires a tailored computer system”
Skill: The ability to do something well; expertise.
“I think if I talked more often with a native speaker, my English skills would improve quickly.”
Figure out “Were you able to figure out the new IT system at work?”
Set up “When you set up an online advertisement, you can select keywords that are relevant to your product.”
Take care of “Don’t worry about the project, I’ll take care of it.”
Take over “I would like Susan to take over the social media project from now on.”
Look over “We also take a look at the opportunities and challenges our customers are facing in different markets.”
Better late than never: It is better to do something late than to not/never do it at all.
To kill two birds with one stone: To achieve two things by doing a single action.
You can’t judge a book by its cover: Outward appearance cannot be an indicator of someone or something’s value or worth.
Don’t pull all your eggs in one basket: Don’t make everything dependent on one thing.
The elephant in the room: A major problem or controversial issue that is obviously present but avoided as a subject for discussion because it is more comfortable to do so.
1- Tailoring your resume, is it really necessary? Why?
2- “Most job recruiters are not evaluating how impressive or smart you are but deciding if you can fit a specific job based on your resume.” True or false?
3- Is it a good idea to remove information or details you’ve added to your resume? Under which circumstances?
4- Do you think writing “frequently required to multi-task” under your most recent job will impress the hiring manager?
5- Have you attended an interview in which your recruiter seemed to wonder, “Hmm, why did this person consider applying here?”