Are you looking for a new job? Then it’s important to understand that using an overly general résumé is a glaring Achilles’ heel when you’re applying for a position. It can even lead to you being passed over for jobs for which you’re fully qualified. The following checklist offers practical advice on how to tailor your résumé to a specific job application. By taking a good look at your résumé ahead of time, you can significantly increase the chances of getting invited to an interview.
Have you included a good title? The Monster article titled “Customize Your Résumé for Best Results” by Kim Isaacs recommends creating a résumé title that states both your career objective and most relevant qualifications. For example, you could use a title like “Process Engineer — Eight Years of Experience & Six Sigma Black Belt.”
Does your summary section accurately reflect your most relevant experience and qualifications? Read the job description carefully to make sure you fully understand what the company is looking for. Then review your summary to see if it clearly and concisely addresses your fit for the job in two to three sentences. If necessary, make revisions to avoid being too general and instead, gear your summary to this specific job.
Do the experience bullets, as well as the skills and accomplishments sections, highlight your most relevant information? Using the job description, work your way through the experience, skills, and accomplishments sections. Emphasize and prioritize information that’s particularly relevant to the job. For example, if you’re applying for a senior process engineer role, you could highlight how you optimized the production line for a specific product, helping reduce production costs by 10 percent.
Have you mirrored keywords or key phrases from the job description? This is extremely important, as the applicant tracking system will look for these keywords in your résumé. Extract the most relevant terms and phrases from the job title, and make sure to include them in your résumé. Things to pay attention to include the job title, qualifications, and years of experience, as well as listed skills and qualities.
Have you double-checked your résumé to make sure it explains how your qualifications match the job? The last thing you need to do is read the job description, then read your résumé, and assess whether they line up. If you feel you’ve done a good job of addressing all of the job requirements, then you’re ready to send out your résumé.
With the pointers in this checklist, you’ll know which changes to make to help you get to the top of the interview pile for the job you want. Just remember to tailor your résumé to each job you apply for. It might involve a bit more work, but when you land the job of your dreams, it will be well worth the time investment.