When a hiring manager reviews a resume, they are looking specifically for skills, experience, and qualifications that pertain to the specific job. This is the number one reason that experts say you should tailor your resume to every job you apply to for a successful job search.
In order to tailor a resume to a job, you should start out with a core resume that includes all of your professional skills and experience. This might be longer than a traditional resume, but by the time you are done with the following tips, it’ll be “application ready!”
#1. Read the Job Description with a Highlighter
First things first… print off the job description and read thoroughly highlighting all of the phrases, qualifications, and requirements that seem important and the points that speak to your experience and skills.
#2. Do Additional Research
Spend some extra time researching the company and position by reviewing their website. Gather common words that the employer uses to describe company culture, company philosophy, and their employees. Some websites even have detail rich career/job sections.
#3. Match your Resume to the Job Description
Take your core resume and remove irrelevant information as well as add the key phrases or qualifications from the previous steps.
There is no rule that you need to name one of the sections of your resume “Work Experience.” If you don’t have much relevant work experience, you can title a section after your preferred industry and career field (i.e. Marketing Experience) and include all relevant experience, such as volunteer work, unpaid work, hobbies, extracurricular activities, etc. Throw the rest of your work experience under “Additional Experience.”
#4. Revamp all Bullet Points (including less relevant experience.)
Make sure everything that you included on your resume is relevant in one way or another to the job you are applying to. Review the less relevant experience that you may have included in the “Additional Experience” section and pull out relevant experience or soft skills that you obtained from that work experience. For example, if you had a retail position and are trying to obtain a job that requires skills in customer service, use those bullets to explain those skills while demonstrating what you did in that position. Other jobs might be harder than others to make relevant, so be sure to think outside of the box and be creative.
#5. Final Check
This step is a last quick review before you send out your resume to apply for the job. Simply, make sure that this resume explains why you are applying for the job. Have a friend or mentor review it to see if it makes sense.
If you don’t have enough relevant experience to make it clear why you’re applying for the position, then you might want to add a career objective (not objective statement.) This is the only exception to utilize the space at the top of your resume for anything other than relevant experience or skills. A career objective is a summary of what you want to accomplish in your career long-term. Explaining your long-term career goals will plainly state the reason why you are applying. Never use this space to describe specifics of the job you’re looking for.