There are many things that you must do to optimize your job landing success.
Establish your target position (job function/industry). ✔ Check.
Get your references in order. ✔ Check.
Create your brag book. ✔ Check.
Complete and optimize your Linkedin profile. ✔ Check.
Create a customizable cover letter. ✔ Check.
Create a powerful, accomplishment-based résumé. ✔ Check.
Tailor your résumé for EACH job posting. YIKES!
Obviously, you need a strong résumé that positions you as a strong fit for the role by highlighting your expertise and key contributions and accomplishments.
But that’s not all – you gotta kick it up another notch to close the gap between YOU and securing your dream job.
You must, must, must tailor your résumé to EACH job posting.
You can’t send the same résumé to different jobs. Even if they are the same job function and/or same industry, each employer is looking for something slightly different.
The job postings may have some job requirements (qualifications) and key accountabilities (duties/responsibilities) that are different. They will have different keywords. Even the job title will vary from company to company.
The way to really boost your chances of landing the initial interview is to ensure that your résumé matches the job posting.
Boost your chances of beating the computer ATS
The reason is that in many or even most cases, it’s not a human who’s reading your résumé after it’s submitted. It’s the computer applicant tracking software system they’re using.
There are literally HUNDREDS of them and they all work slightly differently but the general gist is that they all tend to score and rank the résumés based on how well they match the keywords and key phrasing. It’s not the only thing, but that is one of the most important things.
The more your résumé matches the job posting, the more “points” you’ll get and the higher your résumé will rank against your competitors.
Now, your résumé is not going to match 100%. In fact, I would strongly advise that you don’t strive for 100%. That means, do not cut and paste large blocks of the job posting content into your résumé and think that’s going to get you’re the interview.
The same with stuffing your résumé full of keywords ad nauseum.
Those two strategies will get you is disqualified immediately and potentially “blacklisted”.
What you want to do is ensure that you have addressed the most critical information in your résumé and included the most important keywords and even some phrasing. You need to use your best judgement since there is no “perfect” or one way to do this.
It’s actually a bit complicated and hard to explain how to do to someone else, especially in a short article, but I’ll do my best to at least cover off the key points.
4 Tips on how to tailor your resume to a job posting
#1: Read the job posting
I know this seems obvious, but you’d be amazed at how many people never read the entire job posting which is evident by the fact that they aren’t qualified for the job. Or maybe they are, but they send a résumé that is completely irrelevant and confusing.
Read the ENTIRE job posting from start to finish at least once. You might have to re-read it if it is especially long and complicated. You want to establish what the employer is really looking for and what you have that is a direct match.
#2: Establish the target job title (TJT)
Once you have a good handle on what the job entails, you must then determine what the target job title (TJT) is. That would be the label they are giving the position which is typically at the beginning of the job posting.
Again, I know this seems really obvious, but it’s actually important to know what the TJT is and then include it at least ONCE in your résumé. If you can stick in there a second time, even better.
Why? It’s an important keyword.
Also, by including the TJT on your résumé, the human reader will know instantly which job you are applying to because they might be recruiting for numerous open positions. The more clear you are, the better.
The best place to show the TJT is near the top of the résumé underneath the header which is where your name and contact information should be placed.
#3: Address the key requirements
After I’ve read the entire job posting carefully and identified the TJT, I then go directly to the key requirements section which lists the desired qualifications that the employer is looking for in the ideal candidate. These will be hard and soft skills, education, and other credentials.
First, you must determine which of the qualifications are really important because not everything will be.
Employers tend to include a massive wish list but don’t necessarily expect to get everything. You need to “read between the lines” or do some research to determine what is essential and what isn’t.
Once you’ve established what the really important qualifications are, highlight the ones you have and then include those keywords/phrases throughout your résumé in the sections that make sense.
For instance, the hard and soft skills can go in the profile and/or a skills section (if you use one), in the work experience section under the appropriate jobs you’ve held or even in other sections of your résumé that show education, professional development, and other qualifications.
#4: Address the key accountabilities
The job posting might contain quite a bit of information about what they want this person to do on a day-to-day basis. It could be labeled as “key accountabilities”, “duties and responsibilities”, or something to that effect. Or it might not have a label at all.
You should read this section carefully. Anythig that they want this person to do which you should address in your résumé provided you have actually done those things well.
The best way to do this is to go line by line and think “How and where did I do this well?” Then come up with a “story” that provides evidence of your contributions.
What you don’t want to do is fill your résumé with a laundry list of duties and responsibilities because that doesn’t say anything about your value at all.
And remember to include those important keywords and phrases.
Now, there is actually a lot more to tailoring a résumé than this, but this will get you started.
Need some help???
I highly recommend you retain the services of a career professional to create a résumé that is finely targeted to your desired position. Feel free to contact me here.
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Hi! I’m Diana.
I leverage over 14 years recruitment and sales/marketing experience to create attention-grabbing résumés, cover letters, and Linkedin profiles that help job seekers stand out, get noticed, and get hired. You can learn more about my story here and about how I can help you here.
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