How to Tailor Your Résumé

A reader writes…

Dear Anita,
What are some tips on tailoring a résumé for a specific position?

Dear, “Tailor,”

Tailoring your résumé for a specific position is a great way to stand out in the crowd.  In fact, unless your résumé includes certain “keywords,” it may not even be picked up by recruiters’ automated keyword searches (such as online résumé mining).

I know people who have 3 or 4 different “versions” of their résumé – certain skills or experiences are simply featured in each (that are relevant to the new job they are seeking).

Here are 5 quick and easy tips for you to follow:

  1. Study the job description and pull out a few important keywords.  You basically want to “talk the talk!”
  2. Incorporate these keywords or phrases into the body of your résumé.  If you have a “Profile” or “Summary” toward the top… that’s an ideal place to sprinkle in a few.  Whatever you do, don’t OVERdo it!  You don’t want to appear as though you’ve copy / pasted the job description into your “Experience” section! I’ve seen it done….  and it wasn’t pretty.
  3. Downplay items in your résumé that do not seem applicable to the position.  You may even want to remove these items completely.
  4.  Proofread your résumé carefully.  Sometimes making changes can result in formatting errors, typos, or unwanted duplicates of information.
  5. Last, but not least, ask a family member or close friend to review it before sending.  A fresh set of eyes is always a good thing!

For more help with your résumé, check out this Resume Writing service that offers great insight and suggestions.

Another way to go is to create a functional resume that focuses more on your skills and experience than a chronological list of jobs and associated duties. This type of resume may fit more job openings. THEN, you can tailor your resume based on the job you’re applying to. For example, you can reiterate your understanding of the position based on the ad and how your specific skills match up.



Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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