You’ve put blood, sweat and tears into developing a cracker resume. Now you can fire it out for multiple positions to score an interview, right? Wrong.
A generic resume is a fantastic foundation, but it’s important to tailor your resume to every job you apply for. This is the only way to make your resume the best it can be for each application.
You might be thinking you don’t have the time or energy to do this. However, it’s critical because tailoring content showcases the skills and experience you have for that specific job. Generic resumes don’t achieve this.
Tailoring your resume doesn’t necessarily mean revamping it each time from top to bottom. Sometimes it’s a question of changing wording here and there to highlight job specifications. It can mean changing the order of content. And, yes, it can involve developing new content and removing irrelevant content.
It’s not hard to change up a generic resume, but it’s essential and effective.
In this article we highlight questions our expert recruiters are often asked about how best to tailor a resume.
What’s the best starting point for tailoring a resume?
Focus your thinking and target all content to the company and what it’s looking for. This means studying the position description to pinpoint what the company needs to achieve its goals.
Once you’ve identified the company’s needs then what?
Take a hard look at your resume and select content demonstrating you have what the company requires. If, for example, a major skill is leadership, address this head-on by detailing your leadership experience. List examples of your leadership skills and major leadership achievements. The same applies to other attributes like organisational abilities, multi-tasking skills, team player abilities, researching strengths as well as making sound judgements and decisions.
But, shouldn’t recruitment panel members draw their own correlations?
It’s smarter for you do the extra work and make your skills obvious in the first instant with your resume. This will give you the best opportunity to score an interview. Also remember that employers can receive many resumes for one position, which means time is precious. A generic resume could well end up in the ‘too hard’ basket.
What hints to you have about the order of content?
It’s critical to put the most important information first in your resume. In a list of bullet points, for example, make sure the first few pack a punch. This way a prospective employer will be impressed even if they don’t read the whole list.
Also put the most relevant information first. This includes the order of the positions you’ve held. There’s little point in having the work you performed years ago in a fast-food outlet before a current administrative position if the job you’re applying for demands administrative abilities.
I already have examples in my generic resume. Do I really need more?
It’s not a question of the examples you have in your resume. It’s a question of direct relevance to the job specifications. Examine what the organisation is looking for and target an example to each. This could mean reshaping stats. If the job specifications mention the essential need to meet targets, make sure you include a target you’ve met.
If the organisation wants you to manage a budget, include specifics on a budget you’ve managed, and if you saved money (and how much). If the job specifications mention team leadership, describe a team you’ve led. How many were on the team? How well did the team perform? What did it achieve?
What about hard versus soft skills?
Definitely include hard and soft skills in your resume. More and more employers want a healthy mix of both skills. It helps them round out their organisation’s abilities and supports creating a great culture. Transferrable skills are also important to cover when tailoring your resume.
Any other hints?
Yes. Tailoring isn’t just about the written resume. It’s also about preparing for your interview. Practice with specifics so you don’t wander during interview. Think about the most popular interview questions and write down bullet points to address each when in your ‘live interview’.