Writing a Targeted Resume

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What is a targeted resume?

A targeted resume is any resume that is tailored to a specific position. Most job postings list the desired skills and experience for which prospective employers are seeking for a position. By editing or revising an existing copy of your resume or writing a resume from scratch that focuses on these skills and experiences is how a targeted resume is created for each position to which you apply.

Including a Summary of Qualifications (also called a Career Summary or Career Highlights section) is the simplest way to create a targeted resume. For each position you apply to, this section is easily rewritten to focus on a specific job posting. Following this section, you can include your work history in whatever format best suits your experiences, whether it follows the reverse chronological order of a chronological resume or the skills-based presentation of a functional resume.

Following the tips below is a good way to approach writing a resume targeted at a particular position.

  • Read the job posting thoroughly
  • Incorporate the job posting’s language in your resume
  • Quantify your accomplishments
  • Note and follow the order of requirements used in the job posting
  • Avoid sharing information that is not relevant
  • Pay attention to the details that get attention
  • Focus on providing relevant references

Reading job descriptions carefully for a targeted resume

Reading the job description carefully for the position you are applying clues you in to keywords that are important to a hiring company and allows you to create a stronger targeted resume. Consider the job description as the Holy Grail of information. It allows you to take your experience and skills and convey them in a way that stays in the prospective employer’s language.

Use a list of your own skills and experiences to highlight any that are relevant to the job description; omit any that are not. Pay attention to and use the specific words and style of requirements from the job posting on your resume. This makes you a candidate that stands out when prospective employers are reviewing resumes.

Using the right details in a targeted resume

When you are creating a targeted resume, you want to quantify your accomplishments and skills whenever possible to show your value. Doing so tells prospective employers much more about what you can accomplish. Using the right details in a targeted resume is just part of the process; you also want to follow a job posting’s order of requirements and necessary skills. Usually, prospective employers list skills and requirements in the order of importance. Therefore, you want to list your applicable skills and accomplishments in the same order.

Including the right details is also about not over-sharing information. If a particular skill or accomplishment is not relevant to the position, omit it from your targeted resume. For skills and accomplishment that you are unsure of their relevance, include them, but use less emphasis in highlighting them. Ideally, the information you provide should answer the questions prospective have about your qualifications before they have a chance to ask them.

Titles are also another way to incorporate little details that grab attention. Instead of a simple title, such as “Accountant,” get specific by using a more descriptive title that is modified for each position. If you were an accountant in a retail environment, for example, use “Retail Accountant.” Sometimes little changes create a big impact when it comes to getting your targeted resume noticed.

Considering references for a targeted resume

The references you use for each targeted resume make a difference. While any of your references likely have good things to say about you, aim to select those references from experiences that directly relate to the position for which you are applying. For example, if you are applying for a marketing position, including references from working at a basketball summer camp is not as good as a reference from a marketing internship you worked during summer vacation.

Creating a targeted resume is the best way to get your resume noticed by prospective employers. When your skills and accomplishments directly show how you have demonstrated what employers are seeking, you give yourself a better chance at interviewing and receiving an offer for a position. Prospective employers screen the large number of resumes they receive quickly, but using a targeted resume that is tailored to the position gives you an advantage over other applicants.