Your resume is the primary part of your job application. It’ll likely be one of the first (if not the first) pieces of the puzzle that prospective employers review when they’re considering you as a candidate for an open role.
The last thing you want is for your resume to undersell you. But what you really want is for your resume to win over recruiters and hiring managers before they even look at the rest of your application materials.
In order for your resume to stand out amongst the rest, it’s highly important for it to be job specific. This means that you will need to tailor your resume to every job for which you apply.
Rather than sending out one resume with every application, consider the following ways to make your resume more unique to the job you want.
5 ways to make your resume job specific
Follow these five tips for tailoring your resume to the job you want.
1. Mirror the language on the job advert.
The reality is that recruiters and hiring managers receive countless applications from candidates for the job openings they post. This often means that they don’t necessarily read all of them. In fact, many recruiters and hiring managers use applicant tracking systems to scan resumes for them. An applicant tracking system is software that reviews resumes by searching for keywords and phrases.
One way to make sure that a human or an applicant tracking system notices your resume is by mirroring the language on the job advert. Use the same language they use to describe their ideal candidate in your titles and descriptions. These keywords and phrases will get flagged by the software, and they’ll stand out to anyone who is quickly eyeballing tens or hundreds of resumes.
2. Narrow your experiences down to the applicable ones.
Make sure that the experiences you include on your resume are actually relevant to the job for which you’re applying. For example, if you’re applying for a job in content marketing and you have experience as a bartender, that experience doesn’t necessarily need to be listed on your resume. If, however, you have previous experiences working in the editorial or marketing spheres, those should absolutely be included in your resume.
Your experiences should also be somewhat recent. A job you held a decade ago may no longer matter unless it’s relevant for a reason. A job you didn’t keep for very long, in the same vein, may also not be worth mentioning—unless you have a good explanation as to why it didn’t last.
3. Adapt your job descriptions to showcase your pertinency.
Your job descriptions should explain what you did for your previous (and your current, if you have one) jobs. However, there’s a way to talk about your experiences that not only tells what you have done but also shows what you can do. Your job descriptions should paint a picture for the person reading your resume so they can imagine what you value you have to offer them, in particular. It should suggest what you can bring to the table, based on everything you’ve brought to tables before.
You can accomplish showing and telling by carefully reading the job advertisement to identify the needs and pain points of the company for which you’re applying. Then write your job descriptions with those in mind, answering the ways in which you’ve solved those needs and alleviated those pain points for employers for whom you’ve worked before.
4. Call out your industry-specific skills.
Make sure to call out specific skills that are unique to your industry if you have them. Sure, you can list more generic skills, too, but you want to make sure that you’re name-dropping any software or hardwares that your industry uses (and that you know how to use), referencing any platforms that are particularly useful for your job, and calling attention to any important soft skills you may need to do your job well.
The skills section on your resume is likely to be short; it may merely be a bulleted list. So use that space wisely.
5. Highlight your relevant education and certifications.
Your education is important to employers, especially if you’ve gone above and beyond to get yourself certified and trained in areas of your industry. While you should always highlight your education if you have a degree or multiple degrees, you should also be sure to share any other key programs you’ve undergone.
If you are currently in a school or training program but don’t yet have your degree or certificate of completion, you can still name that you’re currently in it. This lets prospective employers know that you’re serious about your work and personal and professional development.
If you need some help polishing up your resume, Ivy Exec has you covered with plenty of resources to do just that. Check out our guides on everything from executive resume tips and resume formatting to things you should never include in a resume.