Always Tailor Your Resume When You Apply

Posted by Rob Riggins

Research and customize before you applyYou crafted your resume, fine-tuned it, spellchecked it and are ready to hit send, confident the job is yours.

STOP! If you haven’t tailored it for the specific job for which you’re applying you might as well hit delete instead of send.

Recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing a resume before they make an initial decision on a job seeker. That’s why it’s critical that you ensure your resume shows you’re tailor made for the position.

A resume is a marketing document that “can serve as a magnet to draw job opportunities to you,” Susan Ireland, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Perfect Résumé, told The New York Times.

So don’t think of it as just something to fill out without thinking. Your resume is your first opportunity to tell recruiters and hiring managers why you’re the ideal person for the job.

So just how do you take your one-size-fits-all resume and craft it into a job magnet? Consider these 7 strategies to let your resume prove you’re the right person for the job.

Read and analyze the job description. That may sound basic, but recruiters and hiring managers say it’s clear when people don’t understand the job for which they’re applying. Generic resumes that don’t have any specific words or phrasing relevant to the sought-after position are one sign the writer is using a scattershot approach in their job search. Sit down with the job listing and highlight keywords. Then figure out how your experience and skills speak to those requirements.

Put your key information on top. That means you should put the key information the hiring manager most wants on top of your resume. For the defense and intel community that includes your security clearance, and your education. Relevant certifications, targeted experience or specific skills mentioned in the job posting should be right up front. Even if that information is not your most recent accomplishment.

Don’t list every past position. If a job is 15 or more years in the past, think twice before you list it unless the job posting specifically asks for that level of experience. Your resume isn’t your autobiography. If you do want to list the job, keep the information to a minimum.

Repeat relevant keywords, but don’t go crazy. The hiring manager likely spent considerable time using specific terms when they wrote the job listing that caught your attention. Ensure you write your resume in such a way that those words are naturally highlighted. For example, if the job posting refers to geospatial, be sure to include that terminology in your resume vs GIS. When a recruiter does a keyword search, their search terms are highlighted when they view your resume. If they appear more than once in proper context, you’re more likely to grab the recruiter’s attention. But don’t simply stuff your resume with keywords. It’s a fine line.

Do your research. Tap into Google, local newspapers, LinkedIn and your network to find out as much as possible about the company, recruiter and hiring manager. You’re looking for information that isn’t found on the job posting. Then use that information in your resume and interviews. If you discover the work culture is fast-paced, mention your quantifiable successes in such environments. If you discover the hiring manager is a stickler for strict attention to detail, describe how you thrived under similar mandates.

Use the proper industry terms. If you’re transitioning military this demonstrates your knowledge of the private sector and your profession. Use the appropriate civilian lingo in your resume so you’re considered a knowledgeable insider. If you’re trying to switch to a different profession such as from intel to logistics, this is even more critical.

Let your accomplishments speak for themselves. Words like “team player,” “Go-getter” and “self-motivate” are terms that recruiters and hiring managers find turn offs. Instead, describe accomplishments with words like “improved,” “created,” and “increased.” Read 120 Powerful Resume Words to Get a Cleared Job.

Tailoring your resume when applying for a position takes time and effort. For most job seekers that means applying for fewer jobs, but putting more effort and consideration into the jobs for which they do apply. That’s ultimately a more successful job search strategy.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 7:58 am

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