How To Tailor Your Resume For Each Job
The average recruiter or hiring manager only needs about 7.4 seconds to determine whether or not a candidate will be moving forward in the hiring process. That’s the amount of time it takes to skim through a candidate’s resume and evaluate their education, skills, past experiences, and career highlights.
As a job-seeker, you might be thinking, “How can I make a good first impression in such a short amount of time?” The secret is to create a unique resume for each job you apply to. This doesn’t necessarily mean starting a new resume from scratch each time a position piques your interest, but starting with a general resume and tailoring it for each job lets a company know you’ve put effort into creating something just for them and helps set you aside from the competition. To get started, follow these steps:
Format your resume
Before tailoring the actual content in your resume, consider changing the overall layout of your resume, including the colors and fonts used. This step is especially important for job-seekers in creative fields such as media or graphic design. Adding company colors can be a unique way to show your resume was specifically formatted for the role you are applying for and that you've taken the time to understand the company’s brand. Even simply using the company’s font and sticking to a traditional white background is still a creative way of showing you’ve done your research.
When getting creative with your resume, be sure to keep columns, rows, and graphics to a minimum in order for the resume to be easily read by applicant tracking systems (ATS) and ensure that it gets passed along to the recruiter or hiring manager.
Adjust your professional title
If your resume includes a professional title under your name, be sure it's relevant to the job you’re applying for. Your title does not need to be the exact job title you are applying for, but be sure that it reflects your capabilities or specific field. This is especially helpful if you are new to the job search or planning on a career change.
Highlight your skills
Each version of your resume should reflect the skills that are relevant to the job you are applying for. If you find that all of your skills are needed for the job in question, try rearranging the order of your listed skills to highlight the ones most important to the position. For example, if you are applying to a remote role, the skills needed for the position might differ from the skills needed for an in-person role, so these skills would be listed first to be easily seen when hiring managers or recruiters are scanning your resume. Carefully reading the job description and the required skills can help you determine which skills are the most important to include or highlight.
Reword your job duties
Under your listed duties for each of your past roles, be sure to use exact keywords from the job description you are applying to. However, be specific in your use of the keywords and provide context to show that you have a deep understanding of the responsibility and are not just including keywords to pass through the ATS. For example, if certain programs or platforms you have worked with in previous roles are mentioned, be sure to include the exact way you used them.
Properly save your resume
When saving each version of your resume, be sure to include your first and last name, the position and or company you are applying for, and “resume” in the file’s name (Ex: Jane Doe XYZ Resume). This will help you keep track of the different resumes you have made and will also show employers that it is not just a generic copy. Aside from the document’s name, always save your resumes as PDFs to ensure it is consistent with different operating systems, unless the company specifically asks for a different format. In this case, be sure to double check that each section is still visible in the new format before saving the file.
Tailoring your resume, perfecting your cover letter, keeping track of interviews, even finding positions to apply to can be all be time-consuming and draining. That’s why Nexus is here to help. Contact us today to begin working with one of our experienced recruiters focused on helping you find the perfect role.
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