Customizing Resume

3 Keys To Customizing Your Resume

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I’ve written a lot about the importance of investing time into every job application you submit, even if it means applying for fewer jobs.

Related: 3 Secrets To A Powerful Resume Summary

While it’s most efficient to get your resume fine-tuned to a point where it needs little modification for each new job application, you generally will need to make a few changes each time in order to customize your document.

Keys To Customizing Your Resume

Here are three customization tips for your resume:

1. Utilize Proper Language

The first rule of customization is to ensure your resume contains the same language found in the job advertisement. Many companies use junior human resources staff as the first reviewers for the resumes they receive. Since HR staff typically know a lot about HR and less about the business of their company, they often look to match your resume with the keywords used in the job ad. This is why it’s important to customize your resume for an untrained eye; generally, the first person (or software program) looking it over is not discerning enough to know what you mean unless you use the exact same language.

2. Optimize Your Resume With Keywords

For a job seeker who is looking at several different industries, matching keywords can be the most time consuming part of the process. For instance, someone with a background in nonprofit development may be looking at various nonprofit positions as well as opportunities in sales.

Although both jobs essentially involve bringing in money for the employer, the nonprofit industry talks about “fund-raising” while the sales industry talks about “market share.” In order to save herself the hassle of changing the language of her resume every time she applies for a job, this job seeker would want to design both a standard nonprofit resume and a sales resume as the basic documents to work from for either type of job.

3. Put Important Details First

Another way to customize your resume for a specific job opening is to construct the various sections of your resume in the same order as the items listed in the ad. For instance, if an advertisement says, “Seeking licensed master’s level social worker for clinical supervisor,” then your resume should display your academic degrees and social work license near the top. Employers generally use their ads to tell you what they’re looking for—so don’t make it hard for them to find it!

As you start or continue your job search process, keep a standard resume on hand for each industry in which you’re looking, and adjust the keywords and section order as needed. Employers will appreciate it!

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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Jessica Holbrook Hernandez | Expert Resume Writer & Personal Branding Strategist

About the author

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, CEO of Great Resumes Fast is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter. Want to work with the best resume writer? If you would like us to personally work on your resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile—and dramatically improve their response rates—then check out our professional and executive resume writing services at GreatResumesFast.com or contact us for more information if you have any questions.


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Jessica Holbrook Hernandez

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, CEO of Great Resumes Fast is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter.

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