Tailoring Your Resume to Different Positions

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When applying for various positions, you want to put significant effort into tailoring your resume to fit each position. A generic resume that gives an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink view of your credentials and accomplishments is a quick way to get your resume discarded by prospective employers.

Instead, customize your resume using four steps to show each employer why you are the perfect candidate for the job.

Tailoring your resume step #1: Read the job posting carefully

The first step in tailoring your resume is reading the job description carefully. When a description is not available, you can research the position online. As you read, do the following:

  • Note any skills outlined in the description
  • Watch for keywords specific to the job requirements

When you are looking at multiple positions, make sure to read each description carefully before tailoring your resume. Two jobs in the same field, even ones with the same or similar title, can call for different requirements and skills.

Tailoring your resume step #2: Make a list of your experiences

After reading the description with a careful eye, you want to make a list of your own experiences before you review them in the next step of tailoring your resume. Draw from the following experiences:

  • Work experiences
  • Unpaid experiences
  • Temporary or part-time jobs
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Volunteer work
  • Relevant hobbies or interests
  • Leadership positions

Tailoring your resume step #3: List your accomplishments, skills and abilities

Once you have experiences to draw from, the next step in tailoring your resume is to consider what you accomplished or learned in each experience. As you write down information relevant to each position, choose your words carefully. For maximum results, choose strong resume action verbs that show what you have done. Evaluate each experience for the following:

  • Problems you resolved
  • Tasks you undertook
  • Skills you used or developed

Tailoring your resume step #4: Match your information to the job description

Once you have examined and thought about your own experiences, you need to relate them to the specific job description for every company to which you are tailoring your resume. With the specific job posting in hand or fresh in your mind, you can look through your list of experiences, accomplishments and skills while matching up your information to what is required in the job description. Use the keywords you identified in the first step. Only include the relevant information you identify as a match when tailoring your resume for a specific position.

Tailoring your resume is one of the best ways to draw attention to it for several reasons. First, prospective employers are likely to see you as more qualified when everything on your resume is relevant. Second, some employers are impressed that you took the time to tailor your resume, which bodes well for your interview prospects. When you successfully tailor your resume, you not only show prospective employers that you have the skills and experience they are seeking, but that you are the right candidate for the job.