Here’s a scenario for you:
Janet has been looking for a job. She reads a job offer that sounds nice and sends her updated resume straight away.
Nothing wrong with that right?
Janet is making a mistake that could be causing her to lose her shot at getting called for an interview.
What is she doing wrong?
She’s sending a generic resume. She’s sending the same resume in response to every job offer she finds.
One of the best things you can do for your resume is to tailor it to match each job offer.
I promise you. It’s not a waste of time.
When you consider how to make a resume better, remember that tailoring is the number one thing you can do to up your chances of getting called in for an interview.
1. Here Are the Basics on Tailoring Your Resume to a Job Offer
If you have an updated resume like Janet, that’s great. Use it as your “master resume.”
You won’t be starting from scratch that way.
If you don’t, a master resume is simply a resume with ALL of your work experience, skills, and information. As you begin to tailor your resume to a job offer, you will select elements from your master resume and put them on your new resume.
The first thing you are going to want to do is to go through the job offer with a highlighter and find all of the “keywords,” or all of the skills, traits, and experience that the hiring manager wants their new employee to possess.
You will need to scatter these skills throughout your resume. So, where exactly do you put them?
2. Here’s How to Tailor Your Resume Summary
One of the main reasons why it’s so important to tailor your resume to the job offer is because hiring managers often get 250+ resumes on average in response to each job post.
What does that mean?
It means that a hiring manager doesn’t have time to read each resume in-depth. She is going to spend an average of six seconds scanning each one for relevance. And she is going to scan it for keywords from the job description.
If you’ve taken the time to tailor your resume, you should get through the first round of scanning.
The best place to start tailoring your resume is right at the top. A resume summary is a brief introduction to yourself at the beginning of your resume.
For a person with work experience, a resume summary should follow this formula:
Strong Trait + Specific Position / Title + Years of Relevant Experience + Added Value
Handsome Lion Tamer with 6+ years of experience working in the circus industry. Seeking to leverage my ability to speak Lionese and my skills as an Alpha Male to tame the lions in your company. Have an MA in Lion Taming.
Take the trait directly from the job description. Our lion tamer’s job offer specifically stated that they were looking for a handsome lion tamer with at least five years of relevant experience.
The ability to speak Lionese and Alpha Male skills were also taken directly from the job offer.
Use a couple of skills from the job offer to describe what value you are going to bring to the job. Use numbers where possible. It will draw the eye of the recruiter to the information.
3. Here’s How to Tailor Your Experience as a Freelancer
Your experience section is where you will want to include the most references to the skills and experience found in the job offer.
As a freelancer, you might have accrued a lot of skills and experience outside of your regular jobs. It’s more than fine to list freelance work on your resume as you would regular work.
Also, to place more of an emphasis on skills in general, you can add skill-based subheadings to each job listed in your experience section.
Take one of the skills from the job description that represents an overarching responsibility you had, and use it as a headline introduction to the bullet point list of all your responsibilities at that job.
To draw attention to your keyword skills, try to illustrate your strength using them by including numbers and results or achievements.
Responsible for managing a team of people.
Managed a large team of 20+ sales professionals and brought sales up by 10% worldwide in the first year.
The fact that you’ve added numbers and tangible results has the added benefit of allowing the hiring manager to imagine that you could achieve the same results for her if she hired you.
4. Clean Up With Your Skills Section
Finally, you will want to make sure that your skills section matches the skills listed in the job offer.
Any skills that you have from the job offer need to go in your skills section, and they should probably go in word for word.
Once you’ve tailored your skills section to the job offer, flesh it out with other skills that you have that the employer would find valuable. Here’s how to know what skills to put on your resume.
Tailoring your resume to match the job offer is hands down one of the best things you can do to boost the success rate of your job hunt.
It doesn’t take much time and effort. So, instead of sitting at home wondering why a hiring manager hasn’t called you in for an interview like our Janet, work on tailoring a resume that will help you snag your dream job.
About the author: Natalie is a writer at Uptowork. She loves writing about resumes and eating tacos more than life itself. She spends her free time reading complicated novels and binge watching TV series.