7 Easy Steps To Tailor Your Resume To A Specific Job Description

Whenever we create a resume writing guide for our clients, we always emphasize one principal factor – tailoring your resume to the job description you are applying for. If you have Googled for resume writing advice, we are pretty sure that you’ve come across that one too.

Why is tailoring your resume to a job description so important? Why can’t you just send a general resume for every job application?

A tailored resume is vital for your job search if you want to get through the ATS. Many employers will program their ATS to look for keywords from the job description when ranking candidate resumes. In turn, all the resumes tailored for the job description with the right keywords will get ranked higher on the ATS.

The resumes which do not have a sufficient number of keywords from the job description will get ranked lower and may not even get shortlisted as an option by recruiters.

If you want to hear back from employers and get a chance for an interview, tailoring your resume for the position is one of the best things you could do.

Yes, tailoring your resume every time you have to send it in is a time-consuming task. There will be times when you are wondering whether you even have the right skills to tailor your resume for a particularly difficult job description. But with our 7 effortless steps, you can do it in less time and without much stress:

1.Read the job description thoroughly

First things first, before you dive into the waters of tailoring your resume, you must get to know the job description. Take ample time to review the job description and highlight what seems important.

There will be keywords mentioning responsibilities, skills, experience level, years on the job, etc. which will all come in helpful when you get to the tailoring.

2.Identify what the employer expects from the perfect candidate

Recruiters describe the qualities, skills, abilities, and experience that they want to see from an ideal applicant when writing their job description. You can gain insight into what they prioritize when you read the job description.

Note the responsibilities listed first on the job description. These are the highest expectations of the employer. The job duties will also give you an insight into the skills required for the position.

For example, if the job responsibilities say that the applicant should be capable of leading project teams to generate results within budget and schedule, you are expected to have skills such as leadership, budgeting, time management, and project management.

3.Review your existing resume to see what matches the job description

If you have already worked in a similar position, you will have multiple elements on your resume which align with the expectations of the job description. There will also be parts of your resume that seem totally out of context for the job description under consideration. You might also be able to find some transferrable skills to suit the new job.

Highlight the elements of your resume that do not already match the job description. We will tackle them in our next step.

4.Replace the highlighted elements with new facts to align with the job description

Your resume summary, education section, skills section, and work experience sections will have the biggest impact on an interested employer. These are the places where you should emphasize the qualities that make you an ideal candidate for the position.

Start with the resume summary and include the keywords from the job description to show how you match their expectations. You can even include achievements from previous jobs that are relevant to the job description here.

When tailoring the skills section of your resume, notice the skills which were given priority by the employer. Mention your skills in the same order as the job description. If you have additional skills relevant to the position, add them below the keywords.

Your work experience section is the most important part of your resume. When describing past work, always focus on achievements rather than job duties. Again, align your bullet points with the keywords from the job description when deciding on which bullet points you want to display. Four to six well-written accomplishments and job duties should do the trick.

5.Organize your resume to get important points across

Your resume is bound to look a little bit disorganized at this point. After all, you’ve been hacking at it for a while. When you feel like you have nothing more to add, take a breather. Then you can start to organize your resume.

This is where the priority order of the job description can help you. Display the most relevant pieces of information at the top 1/3 of your resume to catch the eye of the recruiters in a snap. You should begin each resume section with the most vital piece of information you have. Reorder your bullet points so that the most important ones are read first.

Move the lesser priority points towards the end. If anything seems irrelevant to the new job description at this point, you can move them even lower.

6.Delete, delete, delete

Whatever seems not related to the new job, you can remove it from your resume without a second thought. By this time, you have gone through your resume five or six times. So, you have a clear idea of which facts will not affect the recruiter’s decision. Remove those from your resume to save up valuable resume space.

You can fill the saved-up space with related information to get the best out of your resume. Or you could leave it as it is and use formatting to make your resume an attractive read.

7.Format your resume to draw the recruiter’s attention to the crucial details

Different fonts, bold text, italics, underlines, and colors can all be used to highlight important pieces of information on your resume. Use pops of color to add a touch of creativity to your resume section headings so that nothing goes unnoticed by a recruiter. Use bold text for your degree, results, or company titles to emphasize a little. Bullet points can be used to summarize information and separate elements. Whatever you do, leave enough white space to not appear too busy.