Should I tailor my resume to each job? If so, why?
The days of having one generic resume to submit to all jobs is no longer an option. In order to advance through the recruitment process, be recognized by the recruiter or software, it is best to tailor your resume to the job of interest. It is essential to read each and every job description, identify the Key Words and important language, and use the exact language on your resume. If a topic is mentioned more than once, it is clear that the company is emphasizing that specific requirement.
Evaluate your prior experience and try to match your skills and responsibilities to those included on the job description to which you are applying. This requires focus and additional work so that your resume is not discarded due to lack of relevant experience. The more key achievements, job titles, experience, and skills that are included on your resume that directly correspond to the job description, the better your chances of getting picked up by the Applicant Tracking system which seeks keywords to identify prospective qualified candidates.
Be very specific and try to match skills and language from the job posting - using the same exact wording. Prioritize accomplishments and achievements, and less about responsibilities. Today, recruiters like to see what you did, and how that impacted the bottom line of the company. For example:
- “Increased sales by 10% by attracting new clients”. Or….
- “Reduced expenditures by 10% by eliminating certain processes. Or…
- “Rewrote the HR Manual with the result that there were fewer employee issues or complaints.”
If possible, match your job title to the one that is listed. If you have not had that specific title in the past, list the prospective job title under your name at the top. This will help the tracking system identify you. For example, if you are applying to a Director of Marketing position, consider adding the title as follows:
First Name Last Name
Director of Marketing
City, State - Contact Information - Linkedin Profile
As always, the goal is to navigate through the application process to achieve, at the least, a preliminary phone interview, followed by a face-to-face meeting at the company. Providing a roadmap, making it easier for the recruiter to follow and recognize your abilities against their desired requirements, will enhance your potential success. So take the extra time to analyze each job posting or position description, tailor your resume accordingly and you will get further into the process, for sure. A generic resume may never make it to a recruiter, even if you are the most talented professional for this job.