Creating one general resume and passing it on to every possible employer is how most people go about their job search – and they’re not wrong. It’s a practical strategy, one that saves a lot of time and effort. But is it going to score you your dream job?
A good, generic resume might get you to the next step in the hiring process, but a great resume will convince recruiters that you’re exactly the person they’ve been looking for, the perfect fit for the position and their company.
And putting together a terrific, targeted resume is easier than you may think. It might take a little more work, but it can also net you much better rewards, like a career you can really profit from, progress in, and be proud of. Let’s see how it’s done!
It all starts with the job you want. ‘Research’ may sound like a scary word, but really, it’s as simple as visiting the company’s website. Your main targets should be the ‘About Us’ and ‘Careers’ pages, so you can get a feel for the company culture and priorities. Take notes on the job description and requirements, along with the important keywords and phrases that they repeat or highlight visually.
Now look at the notes you made, and jot down all the qualities, skills, and experience you have that match up to those points. It doesn’t have to be a one-to-one correspondence, and you don’t always need previous work experience.
For example, if they put a lot of emphasis on their company being like a family, your participation in clubs or sports can show that you’re a real team player. If they’re very into corporate social responsibility, your volunteer work with Unicef could turn out to be a huge plus.
A template is just an outline, like you learned to make in school. The key is to update that outline, so that you’re presenting the information that’s important to your prospective employer, in the way you think will best appeal to them.
So if you’re applying for a call center that emphasizes English fluency, for instance, then your work for the school paper will probably have more impact than your Biology degree, and you should position that newspaper gig front and center.
If the company you’re applying to describes themselves as a fun and friendly workplace, then maybe you can include that photo of you with crazy pink hair, but if you want to work for a bank, then your demure passport photo will likely do better.
At the same time, you want to keep your resume lean, so it’s specific to the job you’re applying for. Don’t be afraid to trim your experience, education, or anything else to suit the position – you’re leaving things out precisely because they won’t be relevant to the recruiter.
Once you’re done, check, double-check, and change anything that needs changing. Make sure your contact info is up-to-date and easy to find. Then, just save and send!
Never underestimate the importance and power of tailoring your resume. It can make all the difference in your job search, and it only takes four simple steps.