While your skills and experience don’t change from day to day, your resume should. In fact, each and every resume that you submit should be customized to that particular employer and position. But how can you customize your resume when you’re still the same person? Here are a few tips.
Change Your Branding or Summary Statement
You know that brief paragraph at the top of your resume? Some people use it as a summary statement, while others write a personal branding statement. Whatever focus you choose, be sure to tweak it before sending off your resume. Without lying or inflating your experience, tightly focus it on why you’re perfect for that specific job.
Use Targeted Keywords
Many employers use filtering software to scan resumes before a human ever sees them. To make sure yours escapes the filters, carefully search through the job description for keywords that match your background and experience. Then add those exact keywords to your resume. Do this separately for each job posting.
Shift the Emphasis
Your resume should provide a full accounting of your educational history, as well as all the jobs you’ve held in the past five to ten years. But that doesn’t mean that every job should carry equal weight on your resume. Consider using a functional format that expounds upon the positions that are relevant to the job for which you’re applying. Then create an “Other Experience” section that briefly lists any irrelevant prior positions.
Prioritize Your Skills
Ultimately, most employers simply want to know if you can do the job successfully. Create a Skills section somewhere near the top of your resume that clearly lays out what you can do. Tailor this section to the specific position, leaving out irrelevant skills. For example, you might be very good at talking on the phone. For a receptionist position, this skill should be front and center. But for a manufacturing job, there’s no need to list it at all.
It’s extremely important to customize your resume for each job opening, but this doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of time on major changes. Instead, just tweak specific sections to highlight what’s most relevant to that particular employer. Once you get the hang of it, customizing your resume should take just a few minutes each time.