It is not just a wise piece of advice, it is a critical decision to have multiple versions of a resume. A tailor-made resume is vital in a competitive job market, as it quickly and effectively sets you apart from your competitors. You are doing yourself a disservice by delivering your all-purpose, general resume to every employer you wish to interview with. In fact, one should never deliver the same resume more than once. The days of sending over a generic resume are over. Seem like too much work? Think about it from an employer’s perspective: if you are unwilling to invest the time and effort to put your best foot forward in your resume, you’re probably unwilling to go above and beyond within their organization.
The first step to creating a job-specific resume begins with research.
1. Breakdown the job description. Print out the job description so that you have a physical copy. Read it over multiple times and underline or highlight any key words or phrases that are clearly imperative to the job. Identify what skills are needed, what experience is required and what characteristics they are looking for. They are outlining the ideal candidate right there on the page.
2. Research the company website and any current events. What does this company value? Are they community-oriented? What is their mission statement? This sort of information may seem great for an interview (which it is), but it is often looked over when it comes to a resume. There are key words littered all over the company website that you should take note of. A company with a particular set of values is going to hire someone that can further their mission and fit seamlessly into the company.
3. Look for particular language or phrases. Notice the way the company refers to specific aspects of the job. For example, “client” versus “customer”. “Customer care” versus “customer service”. “Management skills” versus “leadership skills”. You will want to begin to take note of the company’s “language” as you will want to work it into your resume.
The next part of a job-specific resume is re-creating your general resume. It is your responsibility to make your resume look like the perfect match.
1. Get specific in your editing. Now that you have dissected the job description, you know what the essential skills and characteristics are for the position you want. Go through your resume and cut down on information and/or previous employment history that is not directly related to those skills and characteristics. On the same note, you will want to painstakingly edit your employment history to boost the skills and characteristics needed. If the job you are applying for calls for leadership experience, you will want to go through all of your employment history and “enhance” details of your previous leadership experience.
2. Incorporate their “vocabulary” into your resume. This is key in setting your resume apart from the rest. Having a candidate that already “speaks their language” is very attractive and intriguing to a potential employer. In their mind, they can already see you fitting in at the office. You will want to take a very critical eye to your general resume and identify all the places where you can incorporate their verbiage.
3. Highlight your life outside of the office. Because your resume is your first impression (most often) to a potential employer, you will want to appear well-rounded. The way to do this is to pack your “extracurricular activities” on your resume. This generally comes at the close of your resume; “community service”, “training”, “awards”, “certifications”, etc. If you have found that this company finds importance in giving back, you will want to have a place on your resume that illustrates that you too find it important to give back. If career advancement, initiative or continuing education is important to this company that too would be important to mention.
4. Save it. It is important that as you apply to different job postings you save those different versions of your resume. Keep a note of what job went along with that version of the resume as well. As you go through more job postings you can refer to resumes that you have created and cut back on editing and adjustments.