8 Tips to Tailor Your Resume to Get the Job You Want
As a technical recruiter, on any given day I am looking through hundreds of resumes to find the most highly aligned candidates for our client’s open positions.
The secret to getting a call from myself or someone on my team? Strong, very specific alignment to the project that my client is hiring for!
The candidates most likely to get the recruiter call, get an interview, and get the job are candidates who have honed in on the specifics of the roles they are applying for and made those specific details an undeniable part of their experience and their resume.
This process of identifying key skills needed and making them a part of your professional story is known as tailoring your resume!
What is tailoring a resume?
Tailoring your resume means identifying the key skills and experiences required for the individual role you are applying for, and making it clear to the reader on paper that you possess exactly what it takes to get the job done.
In today’s highly saturated job market, it can be difficult to know how to effectively stand out amongst a sea of applicants for roles in high demand areas like tech and digital marketing.
Tailoring your resume is one way to ensure that your profile gets noticed for the specific roles you are applying for.
How to tailor your resume to a job description
Tailoring your resume is as easy as identifying the key skills and experiences necessary for success in the role, and adding those keywords and key experiences into your resume where you can speak confidently to them.
8 tips to tailor your resume to a job description
- Asses the job description
- Compare your resume to the job description
- Customize your objective or mission statement to the job description
- List skills relevant to the job description
- Customize your work history to the job description
- Include measurable accomplishments on your resume
- Remove any irrelevant skills or accomplishments from your resume
- Ask someone to proofread your resume
1. Assess the job description
Read carefully through the job description a few times, first for general comprehension of the role and day-to-day duties, and then with a more fine-toothed comb for details.
Read through it again, this time making a list of the essential programs, systems, and skills that are required for the job duties — paying special attention to anything that is repeated throughout the job description.
Key things to take note of are any specific software programs, methodologies, major technical ecosystems, tech stacks, or specific technical skills.
If there are any terms you are unfamiliar with, take the time to research them and determine if you have tangential or applicable skills.
2. Compare your resume to the job description
Perform your own CTRL-F Keyword search! Can you easily find all of those key systems and skills from the JD in your resume? If not, time to take a deeper dive!
Adding these keywords to the skills section and working them into your experience section will go a long way.
3. Customize your objective or mission statement to the job description
An objective or mission statement has become a little less common in resumes, but if your resume has a section that states what you are looking for, make sure it is in alignment with the role you are applying for.
For example, if you’re applying for a Project Manager position in the manufacturing industry, your objective might be something like:
“Self-motivated and detail-oriented Project Manager looking to apply my Lean Six Sigma skills in a manufacturing environment.”
This is especially helpful if you are looking to make a change in industry to help show that while your experience may be focused in another area, it’s made clear to the Recruiter that you are interested in the industry they are hiring for.
4. List skills relevant to the job description
When it comes to your hard technical skills, the best practice is to have an itemized list with your technical proficiencies at the top or bottom in a “Skills section” and ALSO ensure that these skills and programs are called out in the summary for any role you worked with that specific technology.
For example, if you worked with the Salesforce Marketing Cloud in your last 3 contracts, make sure that SFMC is included in the summaries for all 3 roles, noting the specific ways in which you utilized the tool for each role.
This detail will allow the Hiring Manager or Recruiter to assess how long you have worked with a given tool or system and get a better understanding of your level of proficiency with it.
5. Customize your work history to the job description
You want to make it clear in your resume that in previous roles you have done the work that is going to be expected of you in the new role you’re applying for.
Take key VERBS from the job description and ensure that your resume reflects the actual day-to-day activities that will be expected in the role you are applying for.
For example, if you are a Project Manager, you’d want to ensure that “gathering” requirements, “managing” stakeholders, and “driving” deliverables were all included in your resume.
If the job description mentions producing any key deliverables, make sure that your resume shows where you have successfully provided previous clients or employers with that key result.
6. Include measurable accomplishments on your resume
Not only do you want to make it clear that you have exposure to and experience with the skills and tools listed in a job description, you also want to show that you have successfully provided impact to your previous employers using those tools.
The best way to do this is to provide detailed, quantitative information about the impact of your role.
For example, if as a Project Manager, you were able to speed along a project, saving the company money in the process, your resume might say something like:
“Delivered key infrastructure 2 months ahead of schedule, thereby reducing overall project cost by 25%”
Showing previous impact in the same area that the position is going to be focused on will help to build a case showing why you can do the same for their organization.
7. Remove any irrelevant skills or accomplishments from your resume
You might think that it’s a good idea to list projects or details from previous roles that may not be directly aligned with the role you are applying for in an effort to show the breadth of skill and interest.
However, in today’s market, Hiring Managers are often seeking candidates who are very acutely aligned with their roles to ensure they are making the right investment for their project.
Having skills or accomplishments that are not aligned with the role you are applying for can confuse a recruiter or Hiring Manager and make them doubt whether their environment or project is the right fit for your background.
Make sure that the roles and accomplishments you highlight on your resume are related to the role that you are applying for to ensure that the Hiring Manager has no question about whether you will shine in the role or stick with them for the long haul.
8. Ask someone to proofread your resume
Once you have optimized your resume to show the Recruiter why you’re a perfect fit, pass that job description and your resume along to a trusted friend for a quick proofread.
Along with the obvious checking for typos and grammar, ask them to assess whether they see strong alignment with the job description and your resume.
If they were hiring for the role, would they want to interview you?
Why is tailoring your resume helpful?
Once you have a Hiring Manager’s attention, tailoring your resume can help you land an interview by proving key points about who you are as a person and as an employee that can add value to their organization.
How are resumes reviewed?
Oftentimes, recruiters and hiring managers will review hundreds of resumes for a given role so the first step in determining if yours is a good match is a simple “CTRL-F” search for keywords.
That’s right — you heard it here first, folks. We use keyword searches to quickly identify if your profile is one worth diving into for a further look.
Ensuring that your resume lights up in yellow when recruiters are keyword-matching will ensure that they take the time to investigate your profile further.
Attention to detail in your resume
Nothing delights recruiters more — other than when you pick up our calls on the first ring — than finding a resume with clear and specific detail that explains a candidate’s personal contributions in a role or for a project that aligns with what we are looking for.
We love when it’s easy to tell exactly what you were doing in your day to day, and what personal impact you made for a client.
Our ability to understand your work means we are that much more likely to match you with our client, and our client is much more likely to grant an interview if they too can see exactly why you’re a fit.
Tailoring your resume also demonstrates an attention to detail that almost all employers want when seeking top talent.
Going above and beyond with your resume
Not only do we want to see the keywords that tell us you have the right skillset, but we also want to understand HOW you have worked within your skillset.
If you’re a Project Manager, we want to know if you work with primarily Agile or Waterfall teams.
We want to know if you’ve worked with Gantt charts, project charters, and timelines. We want to know if you were client-facing or if you spent more of your time interfacing with the technical team.
All of these details will help us hone in on how you fit with our open position.
In addition to showing us you are the right fit for the role, including these kinds of details will help your resume to stand out because it goes above and beyond just listing your job duties.
This shows a hiring manager you are likely the kind of candidate who will go above and beyond when you are actually in the seat of their position.
Job description alignment in your resume
Tailoring your resume to the job description you are applying for will help to illustrate to the Hiring Manager why you are perfect for their job.
For example, let’s say Salesforce is a requirement for a job you want, and you have worked with Salesforce in your last 3 contract roles.
Ensuring that you have Salesforce listed in the details for each of those roles will help build the case to the Hiring Manager, proving your expertise.
Adding how you worked with Salesforce — were you a functional user, a technical engineer or a consumer of the reporting system? — will help the Hiring Manager or Recruiter further identify if you are a match for their role.
Keyword matching your resume
Not only are Recruiters and Hiring Managers scanning resumes as they are received, but we also will often go out and actively seek candidates who fit the bill for our open roles by searching across various online sources and platforms like LinkedIn.
In doing so, we often use applicant tracking systems and job boards that search for candidates by keyword.
Adding keywords to your resume that align with the descriptions of the types of jobs you are looking for will ensure that your profile comes up in targeted candidate searches.
Get the job you want by tailoring your resume
Ultimately, your resume should tell a story, reflecting your major accomplishments and strongest skills.
Tailoring your resume helps to tell a more specific story targeted to an audience that wants to hire you.
Make the most of the screen time your resume gets by tailoring your resume to ensure that the Hiring Manager can’t deny your alignment with their role!
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Every year, Mondo helps over 2,000 candidates find jobs they love.
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