how to target your resume for a specific job.

  • resumes
  • October 17, 2016

The online world has brought with it a seemingly infinite number of ways to learn more information about employment opportunities and apply for jobs. For job seekers, that’s a great thing — but it doesn’t mean that posting a single, unchanging resume for multiple jobs is the right approach.

Ready to build and share a far more targeted resume? In fact, tailoring your resume for each specific role you apply for is probably a lot easier than you think, and it’ll yield much better results, as well. Here’s how.

scripting key resume sections

Updating your resume for each job does not mean you have to make major modifications. It just means you need to make some small adjustments so that it’s customized for the job of interest. It is important to first review the company, position and industry. When tailoring your resume to a specific job description, identify keywords and phrases from the job posting. Consider using a website like Wordle.net, which you can leverage to create keyword clouds based on the most commonly used phrases in job descriptions.

For instance, this is a keyword cloud of an accounts payable clerk job posting from Randstad's job search website: accounts payable keyword cloud

You’ll want to include the keywords and phrases — such as “accounts payable” and “monthly invoices” — when revising these three key resume areas:

customize your resume objective

Customizing your resume starts with customizing your resume objective — and this is one of the areas where resumes have significantly changed in recent years.

successful resumesuccessful resumes today tend to replace "this is what I want" statements with "this is the value that I offer" personal branding statements.

In other words, you should use your resume objective to succinctly package your values, goals and experience in ways that highlight the unique solutions, expertise and value you bring to an employer. Here’s an example of an effective branding statement:

“To grow in a progressive organization as an accounts payable clerk where the blend of my five years’ experience handling monthly invoices and accounting skills can help in achieving the goals of Company ABC.”

tailor your professional summary

The goal of the professional summary for your resume is to create a dynamic introductory declaration — in sum, this section should be packed with your most sought-after skills, abilities, accomplishments and attributes while also showcasing the value you bring to the table.

Bear in mind, what’s more, that in today’s technological age many companies have automated systems that search for resumes on job sites based on keywords. Consider adding specific keywords from a listing or job post into the professional summary section on your resume to help give you additional visibility.

add job-specific skills to your resume

Enhance your resume’s effectiveness by demonstrating your skills — rather than just claiming that you have them. This might be thought of as similar to the difference between “showing” and “telling.”

pen and inkbe sure to make a few quick edits for each application — doing so can make all of the difference.

Above all else, your skills section is a chance for you to present and expand upon your specific strengths and areas of expertise. Needless to say, then, that these all should be directly relevant to the job you are applying for.

start updating!

It may seem overwhelming and a lot of work, but customizing your resume can be a real value-add — and you’ll likely decide that the extra work was worth it when you start seeing results! In addition to sending the message that you are a great fit for a specific position, a tailored resume can help increase your visibility in applicant tracking software (ATS) — a software that many companies today use to sort through and identify relevant candidates during the hiring process.

Need additional help with the process? We’ve got you covered. Just take advantage of our free resume builder. Plus, if you want to find out the moment opportunities become available, you should definitely sign up for Randstad's job alerts. Just tell us the kind of position you want, and we'll email you when we find it.