Career Resources

Career Resources

3 Easy Ways to Customize Your Resume

Posted August 19, 2014 & filed under Job Search, Resume

3 Easy Ways to Customize Your Resume

Imagine you received spam in your inbox: would you give it a good read or delete it on principle? Now, imagine you’re a hiring manager receiving tons of one-size-fits-all resumes. Will your response be any different? Employers don’t want to be spammed; they want to be charmed. No company will ever be charmed unless you customize your resume to their position.

Customized resumes needn’t be written from scratch. Most of your education, work history, and technical skills can be transposed from one application to the next. Yet there are features that need tweaking.

Your Top Job Skills – A job advertisement is your greatest tool when customizing your resume. All of the important job skills are outlined there in writing. In-demand requirements are emphasized on the page. Juicy qualifications are placed on a pedestal. Everything is in sight, so you can cherry pick what’s already in your resume to make yourself an enticing match.

Writing a good targeted resume isn’t only dependent on the words you use. Any words or experiences that are not customized on your resume are wasted, even skills that are otherwise desirable in a plurality of positions. Failing to remove irrelevant skills implies you haven’t done research or don’t care to narrow your focus.

Your Job Titles – Each industry has its own jargon, but individual companies might know the same position by dissimilar titles. It’s on par with different dialects having different words for the same thing (i.e. sliding glass door vs. patio door, soda vs. pop, etc.). Always speak in an employer’s terms. Your customized resume should use their job titles whenever tenable.

There are a few rules to follow here. Don’t fib on job titles. A previous Maintenance Technician role isn’t a Manufacturing Engineer and a Sales Engineer isn’t a Business Analyst. This tip doesn’t give you carte blanche to lie on your resume.

However, if the majority of the responsibilities for a Production Supervisor opening are the same as those for your Lead Manufacturing Engineer role, it’s okay to take some license in renaming a former position. You only get enough creative liberty to clarify the lines of communication.

Your Work History – Not all jobs need to be carried from one resume to the next. Some are islands unto themselves. They aren’t relevant to the job opening and don’t need to be included as you customize your resume.

Leave out positions that are outside of your primary field. Most only make you seem like a dilettante or a job hopper. The only exception is if that job heralds your soft skills. In that instance, you have to heavily customize your resume. Refrain from spending too much time on the day to day minutia. Instead, train your focus on the major milestones and achievements that put your soft skills to use.

On a final note:

Never get so gung-ho as you customize your resume that you excise something that can land you an interview. Some talents and experiences can be your dark horse deliverance.

Meticulously review what the company has written about the position. Read press releases to see if the company is going in a new direction. If you can, work with a recruiter and find out about the company’s internal mechanics. That way, your customized resume has everything it needs to get you penciled in for an interview.

by James Walsh

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