While some say the resume is well on its way to being dead, thanks to professional social networks like LinkedIn, many companies still require applicants to submit a resume to be considered for an open position. Before you simply copy and paste your LinkedIn profile (or use LinkedIn’s Resume Builder), consider customizing your resume to ensure you have the best shot of getting your foot in the door for an interview. Here are three key ways you should customize your resume before applying for each job.
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1. Match the language in the job description
Every job has different requirements — even if it’s for the same job title as other listings. Be sure to read through these requirements and tailor your resume using the keywords in each job description. Most employers use an applicant tracking system that scans resumes for certain keywords based on the job description. Even if you’ve been in your career for a decade, your potential employer may be looking for specific traits. By integrating these words into the resume you submit for that specific job, you have a much better chance of not only being noticed, but also being called in for an interview.
2. Remove irrelevant experience
While you may not have a wealth of experience if you just graduated college, a decade of experience can be both a gift and a burden. There may be an irrelevant job or two sprinkled in throughout the last few years — for example, you may have moonlighted as a copywriter while working as a paralegal. However, this experience may not be relevant if you’re applying for another position as a paralegal. (In fact, it may confuse potential employers and perhaps even raise red flags.) However, if you’re applying for another writing gig — or trying to make a move into advertising — this experience should definitely be included. If you want hiring managers to see that you’re a natural fit and have a clear career trajectory, be sure your resume only includes experience relevant to that specific job.
3. Put the requested skills front and center
Again, it’s critical to look at the job description for each job you are applying for. The skills the company wants should be at the top and center of your resume — especially since the typical recruiter spends only seconds looking at your profile. Be sure those skills and related achievements are highlighted either in the summary or within your more recent jobs. This is especially important if you’re changing careers or otherwise making a big jump between jobs.
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