How to fine tune your resume to line up perfectly with the job description
If you’re sending out resumes and not getting any response, there’s a good chance yours is too generic.
If you’re not tailoring your resume to every job for which you’re applying, you have to start.
A few reasons why: According to one recent study, 90 percent of hiring managers say they notice when a resume isn’t tailored to the role in question. In another, 43% of hiring managers said resumes tailored to a specific industry gave candidate a positive edge over the competition, and in still another resume not tailored to suit the job requirements was listed as a “pet peeve” of hiring managers. And there are still many more studies that echo these findings.
And, OK, You’ve probably been told this more than once. So maybe the reason so many job seekers aren’t doing it is that they don’t know how. I get it. It can be difficult to figure out exactly how to customize your resume to every single job. So, here’s a guide. We’ve also got an infographic in this article that visually demonstrates the process.
Match keywords in the job description.
If the job asks for a VP of Marketing, write the words “VP of Marketing.” If they ask for someone with a Bachelor’s degree in communications say “Bachelor’s degree in communications.” If they ask for someone who is “adept at learning new technologies” don’t parrot that exactly, because you might then be getting too obvious but say that you are a fast and efficient learner of “new technologies.”
Demonstrate specific requirements in the job description to show you’re the perfect fit.
This fantastic article on The Muse outlines exactly how to do this, while also noting that you don’t want to be just parroting clichés back at the employer. This means that if the ad asks for a “detail oriented team player,” you probably don’t want to write that.
So how do you demonstrate this match without just cutting and pasting the job description? Use your skills, accomplishments, and experience to show it.
The article author Aja Frost gives the following examples and keyword suggestions.
If they’re looking for a team player, “highlight the times you’ve worked successfully with other people.”
Key words suggested: Work with, collaborate, partner, participate, merge, unite, contribute, develop relationships with
Examples given by Frost:
Increased email click-through rate by 20% by collaborating closely with other members of design team.
Partnered with 6 other employees to plan and execute a 200-person corporate retreat.
If they’re looking for a leader, “demonstrate your ability to motivate, teach, and inspire.”
Key words suggested: Facilitate, manage, supervise, teach, direct, delegate, mediate, recruit, advise, administer, moderate, instruct, guide, counsel, coach, arbitrate, liaise, coordinate, inspire, influence
Onboarded, trained, and oversaw 5 new employees in the analytics department.
Gave presentation on effective communication processes to 60-person company.
Mentored 3 PR interns, continuing the relationship after they returned to school.
Supervised 4 direct reports
If they’re looking for someone who thrives in a fast paced environment, “bring up all the times you’ve juggled several tasks at once.”
Key words suggested: Prioritize, expedite, organize, manage, multitask, dynamic environment, high-volume
Planned and launched 3 simultaneous employee engagement programs, resulting in a 20% increase in reported employee satisfaction.
Answered 40+ calls per day while helping in-store customers and maintaining area cleanliness.
If they’re looking for a strong communicator, “discuss roles in which you wrote or spoke. In general, match the communication medium you use to the actual job description.”
Key words suggested: Compose, write, present, speak, interview, lobby, persuade, negotiate, author, discuss, interface, clarify, articulate
Interacted with approximately 50 customers per day, improving their experience through warm, friendly demeanor, and eagerness to answer questions.
Rewrote onboarding process for overseas contract workers, a 100-page document used to train approximately 500 employees each year.
Kept 10-member sales team focused and motivated by giving 15-minute weekly speech.
You get the idea. Match it up. The more you can connect the dots for the hiring manager, the better your chances of getting the job.