Every day, hiring managers wade through hundreds of applications to locate the elusive Goldilocks Resume. With so many applications, they only have time to spend an average of ten seconds scanning each resume for relevance.

What are they looking for? Skills.

How do you know which skills they want? The job posting. If you want a hiring manager to see your application and think: “This person is perfect,” it all begins there.

Here’s how to tailor a resume to any job posting: 

Mine the job posting for keywords

Start by highlighting any skills and required experience you can find in the job posting.

There are three types of skills:

  • Job-related Skills: These are the skills you have to have to do the job.
    Example: Managing social media campaigns
  • Transferable Skills: These are skills that you can use across multiple jobs.
    Example: Speaking Spanish
  • Adaptive Skills: These are survival skills that you need these for basic human interactions.
    Example: Discretion

Look for job-related skills first. What skills are “must have”? You should have most of these skills. Otherwise, you won’t be able to perform the work.

When you put them on your resume, they should show up in the top third of the document so that they are easy for the hiring manager to find. Here’s a guide on how to write a resume summary so that the top third of your resume is stronger.

Next, look for skills that you could translate from one job to another. These are more of the “nice to have” skills. Make sure they show up in relevant places in your experience section.

Finally, find the adaptive skills. These are usually adjectives like “ambitious” and “hardworking.” You can use them to describe yourself.

For example: Articulate Communications Coordinator  

Add numbers and details for a spotlight effect

Draw attention to the skills you find most important by adding numbers and details. By being specific, you can demonstrate how you’ve used these skills in the past. Using facts and figures has two benefits:

  1. Numbers pop out on the page and are easy to find.
  2. Details make it easier for hiring managers to imagine you achieving similar results in the future.

Don’t write: “Customer Service.”

Write: “Decreased returns by 10% through effective customer service.”

Don’t make the mistake of sending a generic cover letter

Yes, you still need to send a cover letter. And yes, you need to tailor it to match the job description as well.

Make sure you add keywords to your cover letter, but try to avoid copying your resume. Your cover letter should complement and augment the content of your resume.

A quick trick to check your tailoring skills

Try dropping your resume into a cloud generatorYou will see which words are the most prominent.

If the words that appear are not skills or keywords, reconsider a rewrite to make your keywords show up more often.

Key takeaway

Tailoring your resume is crucial. If you can’t pass the keyword scan, there is no way a hiring manager will give your resume a second look.

If you take the time to tailor your resume to every job description every time, you will increase your chances of a hiring manager being impressed by your resume.

For more information, check out the infographic below on how to tailor your resume to any job posting:

how to tailor your resume to any job posting

About Natalie Severt 

Natalie is a writer at Uptowork – Your Resume Builder. She has always loved helping others create successful resumes, and she now shares her knowledge and experience with readers around the world.  Natalie spends her free time eating tacos, reading complicated novels, and binge-watching TV series.


See also:

How to Send your Resume to Land More Interviews
Get Recruiters’ Attention in 6 Easy Steps