College Life

Tailor your resume to any job application

While you can’t please everyone, there’s a few things you can do to make your first impression just a little better during the job search. In this article, we’ll show you how to tailor your resume to any job application in 4 easy steps.

Really read the job description.

Before you do anything else, sit down with a highlighter and try to understand the job you’re applying for. After all, you can’t customize your resume for the position if you don’t know the details. Make a note of the points that seem important as well as those that align with your skills.

While you’re at it, be sure to research the company. Not only do employers want you to incorporate well with the existing workforce but also what the company stands for. Recently, companies have embraced social corporate responsibility, such as going green and giving back, rather than just making money. Almost all companies have certain values that they hold close to their heart and, if you also have these values, it could show that you’re the perfect choice. This information is generally available on a company’s website, and taking the extra time to dig into it could be the difference between you and the next candidate.

Focus on what matters.

Now that you know what the employer is looking for, it’s time to impress them. Look through your resume and find what would make the hiring manager most excited about your application. Then, move those items to the top. Maybe it’s classes you’ve taken, software you’re familiar with or certain skills. Whatever it is, make it the first section of your resume. While it’s always important to be truthful in your resume, that doesn’t mean you can’t emphasize what’s going to get you the job.

Next, revamp the rest of your resume to reflect how it relates to the position. For example, try to change the wording of your past experiences to emphasize the soft skills mentioned in the job description. Also be as specific as you can; words like “accounts receivable” demonstrate your experiences better than “accounting” does. Lastly, remember to sprinkle in keywords that will stand out. Once you’re done, read back through the document to see that it’s clear why you’re applying.

Consider the design.

Resumes come in all fonts and colors, from black and white to an entire infographic about the candidate. What’s important is that yours matches your personality and the vibe of the position. For example, it may help to have a more stylized resume for a marketing gig than you’d need as an investment banker. Be sure to research resumes in your field, or ask colleagues for input to determine what works best.

Be mindful of tagalongs.

Now that your resume is tidied up, be sure to consider any the other elements you may need. Depending on the job, you may be expected to provide a cover letter, references, portfolio or samples of your work. While these aren’t needed for all positions, they help to highlight things that can’t be shown on the resume alone. Check around in your industry or ask the person you set the interview up with to see what’s needed.

Tailoring your resume isn’t the most exciting part of the process, but it’s definitely one of the most important. You’ll get more call-backs, more interviews and, ultimately, be one step closer to landing your dream job.


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