Searching for a job can be a daunting task. We’re all familiar with that feeling of rejection when you don’t get invited for an interview. And it’s even worse when you don’t even get a “thanks, but no thanks” email.
So, what can you do to make sure you get a callback?
Make sure your resume is perfect, of course! In this article, you’ll learn how to tailor your resume to a specific job description, guaranteeing you an interview every time!
- Why Should I Tailor My Resume?
- Do Your Research
- Read the Job Description Carefully
- Match that Energy
- Order of importance
- Prove it!
- Check your work
- Need More Great Resume Information?
- Final Thoughts
Why Should I Tailor My Resume?
Whether it’s a large or small company, recruiters know what they want. They generally have a specific set of criteria to fill, and they need to find someone that ticks every box. There are certain words and phrases they’ll be looking for, as well as exact qualities in a candidate.
That means you need to preemptively think about what those things might be. Give the recruiter what they want. With just a quick glance at your resume, they should be able to tell that you’re the perfect person for the job.
The hiring manager isn’t looking at your resume to see how amazing you are. They want to know that you can do the job. To give you the chance of an interview, you need to make it clear that you can.
Do Your Research
What’s the name of the company you’re applying to? What does it do? Does it have a mission statement? These are all things you need to know.
Luckily, most businesses have a website these days. With just a few clicks, you can find out everything you need to know. Pay close attention to the language used and try to reflect (but not copy) that when writing your application.
Pay attention to…
What is important to the company? How long has it been around? If you can show you have similar ideals, then they’re more likely to ask you to come in.
The company’s website is the best place to start. But a website such as Glassdoor is a great resource too. You can read honest reviews of the workplace, as well as gets handy hints and tip from former employees about what the company wants from its staff.
Read the Job Description Carefully
Sure, you’ll get more details in the interview. But the job description is your best indicator of what the role will entail. You need to make sure of a few things.
What responsibilities are involved? And of those, what’s the most important? The ones that are the highest priority will usually be at the top of the list, with the less vital things further down.
That doesn’t mean you should ignore the lower listed items, though! They’re there for a reason. They wouldn’t have been included if they weren’t necessary.
Does the role require any specific qualifications? If you’re not fully certified, then it’s unlikely your resume will get a second look.
And look for any repeated buzzwords. This includes language such as ‘leadership,’ ‘independent,’ and ‘multitasking.’ Any terms like these show that this is what the company looks for in its employees.
Not sure where to start looking for a job?
Don’t worry; there are plenty of sites to help with your search. Indeed has an incredible number of openings advertised, and you can also upload your resume for any recruiters. Linkedin is another good choice, both for candidates and hiring managers alike.
Match that Energy
Now you know what your potential new employer wants, you can begin writing a resume that will appeal to them. Take all that research you’ve done and start thinking about how to use it.
Think about the responsibilities listed in the job description. Under each job on your resume, write a few bullet points to show you’ve done these tasks before. Try to keep it specific and don’t add extra, pointless information.
Reflect their language…
Think about those buzzwords you noticed too. If the advert mentions multitasking, show them you have experience of doing so. Even if it was only a minor part of the role, mention how you handled several tasks at once in your previous position.
And try to mirror the language used in the job posting. If the description talks about teamwork, then so should you. Pay close attention to the terms and phrases used and include them in your resume.
Order of importance
The next thing to consider when tailoring your resume to a specific job is the arrangement. What order should you put all your information in? What comes first?
Some people like to start with their education. It makes sense. Most of your education happened before you started work, so it feels natural to organize the resume chronologically.
This is particularly true for roles that require a particular certification. Hiring managers can’t even consider your application if you don’t have the right qualifications to legally perform the job. If that’s true for this position, then lead with your education.
But that’s not always the case…
Some employers care the most about your recent experience. Therefore, it’s better to start with your work history. Begin with your last job and go backward.
And list those bullet points about your old jobs in the same order of importance the job description used. Did the posting mention organizational skills first? Then that should be the first bit of information you include about each previous job.
Clarity is key
Try not to include any unnecessary detail. Think carefully about whether what you’re writing is relevant to the job you want. Sure, it may have been part of your old role, but does it apply to this one?
Try to put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. At this stage, all they want to know is whether you have the relevant qualifications and experience. Extra information should be discussed in the interview, not in the resume.
You’ve used all the right words, and you’ve organized the information well. But why should your new employer believe what you’ve written? After all, people lie on their resumes all the time!
Details are crucial here. There’s no point in just writing ‘I can multitask.’ Your new boss needs to believe it.
Facts and figures
Your bullet points should include data. Say how many people you managed in a team or which tasks you juggled simultaneously. How many projects did you work on? Where were they?
You don’t need to write huge paragraphs detailing every single aspect of your responsibilities. But a concise sentence backed up by facts can make or break your chance of getting an interview. Something like “Managed a team of five and oversaw a 10% growth in sales” gives a better impression to your new boss than “Team leader. Increased business.”
Check your work
Once you’ve written the perfect resume, it can be tempting to send it off straight away. But wait! It’s crucial that you check it first!
The devil is in the details…
Read that job description again and compare it to your resume. Make a note of where you’ve used similar language. Check that you’ve got your priorities in the same order.
You don’t have to copy the job posting word for word. In fact, that can show a lack of imagination and originality. But make sure your resume reflects the most important aspects of the job.
Need More Great Resume Information?
No problem at all, we have exactly what you need, such as How to List References on a Resume, Job Titles on Resume, Hobbies Interests to Put on Resumes, Work Experience on a Resume, and the Most Important Skills to put on a Resume in 2023.
There are also some fantastic books on the subject, which are well worth checking out if you want the perfect resume to land you the perfect job. So check out How to Write the Perfect Resume: Stand Out, Land Interviews, and Get the Job You Want, Modernize Your Resume: Get Noticed…Get Hired, Your Guide To A Stand Out Modern Resume, and the highly recommended, Resume 101: How to Write an Effective Resume, LinkedIn Profile, and Cover Letter.
Tailoring your resume for a specific job can be time-consuming. It involves a lot of close reading and choosing your words carefully. You need to have patience and keep a level head while you’re doing it.
But it’s completely worth it. A resume that’s been written to match a certain role will always have the edge over a more generic one. And once you’ve hooked the hiring manager in with it, you can win them over with your charming personality at the interview!
So, happy job-hunting, folks!