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One of the top advices in job hunting is to have your resume tailored for the position you are applying. It has been said one too many times, but how do we really execute it? How many changes do you need to make? What content should you be focusing on? This may sound like a tedious job, especially if you have no idea where to start, but it’s actually manageable when you consider the following ideas:
1. Fully Understanding the Job Post
One fatal flaw of job hunters today is that they dive into job applications head first without actually knowing what they are getting their selves into. Not only is this a waste of time, but you are also just adding into the pile of nuisance of the hiring managers.
The key to a successful job application is to fully understanding the job post first. Sit down with a highlighter in hand and really read the job description. Pick out the most important points of the announcement such as the one that are mentioned repeatedly or points that are even slightly out of the ordinary. Once you’ve identified them, break them down into points that you could speak to with your experience and skills. You can never tailor your resume for a position if you don’t really know what the gig entails.
2. Correlate and Consolidate
Once you have identified the points that could speak to with your experience and skills, it is then time to modify your resume. In your resume, read through your experiences and identify the points that you think will make the hiring manager excited about you, based on your understanding of the job post. Rework your resume so that it is what’s in the first section of your resume.
Do not worry if it is not the most recent. “Work Experience” doesn’t always have to be the first section. You can even omit the section altogether, replace it with a “Marketing and Social Media Experience,” and put everything else in a section called “Additional Experience.” It all boils down to you finding what it most relevant, creating a section for it, and filling it up with experience or qualification that will catch a hiring manager’s attention.
3. Rethink Your Bullets
After you’ve rearranged your relevant experiences at the top of your resume, work on the “everything else” information by pulling out the relevant bits of those experiences in your bullets.
While some of your experiences might not be directly related to the job post you are interested in, you can definitely still highlight some of the soft skills that the position requires. Slant an experience to your advantage or more creatively describe your responsibilities to a particular hiring manager.
4. Review, Review, and Review
Review your resume and check to see if it is now clear why you are applying. A last quick assessment you can do is to have someone else read and check it for you. If that someone can explain why you’re interested in the position just based on reading your resume, then you’re off to a good start. Otherwise, more tailoring is likely needed.
In some case, there’s only so much you can do. If you’re doing a major career change without relevant experiences, that could be challenging. No amount of tweaking bullets can spell that out. If, and only if, it ends up to this case, consider using a “Summary Statement” to properly explain your interest in the position.
Tailoring your resume can be admittedly tedious, but it is definitely one of the most important. Your resume will decide the first impression you make from a potential hiring manager.