When you start your job search, do you just update your resume and send it to a bunch of companies with job openings that match your skills and experience? Well, your job search will likely last for a while, then. A much more effective strategy is to tailor your resume to every job description. While this takes much more time, it also gets job seekers hired.

Why Tailor Your Resume to the Job Description?

The number one thing that most recruiters (over 90%, according to surveys) expect from job applicants’ resumes is relevance to the position. But the same candidate can seem like a perfect or, on the contrary, bad fit for the job, depending on how their resume is worded. That’s why it’s critical to ensure that your resume matches the job description, which may take some work.

Tailoring a resume to the job description means rewording your experience and skills to match what’s expected from applicants. If you’re applying for the position, you probably believe you are a good fit, right? Then you need to do everything to help recruiters and hiring managers see what you’re seeing. This means that you have to adjust your resume to every job you’re applying for to maximize your chances.

1. Read the Job Listing as Many Times as You Need (The More, the Better)

First, read the job listing you’d like to apply for repeatedly—you’ll see where the wording of certain skills and qualifications differs from those in your resume. For example, if the job description says successful experience leading a team, and your resume has headed a working group in it, you’ll need to rewrite this bullet point.

Some candidates find it helpful to make notes while reading a job description, especially if it’s long-ish. That’s a good idea. Create a doc on your laptop or note on your phone to compare how the desired experience from the job description differs from your experience as described in your resume. It’ll help you get rid of the discrepancies.

By the way, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If rewriting your resume for every position seems like too much work or you aren’t confident in your resume-writing skills, you can always visit this site and get professional help. Resume writing experts know how to tailor any resume to any job description and will increase your chances of landing an interview by a mile.

2. Focus on the Keywords

You might be in trouble if you don’t know that your resume is supposed to include keywords. Research shows that recruiters and hiring managers never even see three-fourths of resumes because they don’t pass an Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

ATS software helps big companies rule out job applicants without relevant skills and experience. The problem is that unless your resume has all the necessary keywords in it, you might end up among those three-fourths, even if you’re exactly what the company is looking for.

So you must look at the job description and pay attention to the keywords to mimic them in your resume. Keywords are some of the main hard skills (say, PMP certification or risk management for a Project Manager position), education, and relevant experience. Then, reword your resume to include the same keywords as the job description.

3. Research Beyond the Job Listing

Ideally, if you’re interested in a specific job listing, you shouldn’t limit your research to the job description. Once you’ve rewritten your resume to match the listing and included the keywords, visit the website and social media of the company you’d love to work at. Look at the mission, vision, core values, priorities the company’s SMM is posting about, and so on.

Such a deep dive will give you a head start over other candidates. You can reflect the company’s core values and expectations in your resume (without losing the keywords, obviously)—and the hiring manager will notice your alignment with the company’s culture. Even if you are slightly too obvious in your soft-soaping, your potential employer will likely appreciate the effort.

4. Don’t Just Copy Everything

This one’s especially relevant when there isn’t much information in the job description and the company doesn’t post on its social media often. Candidates are trying to work with what they have, but since it isn’t much, there’s a risk of inadvertently copying almost everything from the job listing and just running with it.

To ensure that’s not the case, check your resume for similarities with the listing (some are fine and even necessary, but too many are a problem). Then, ask someone else to do the same. It’s always easier to spot accidental plagiarism with fresh eyes. And they might notice a few grammar mistakes or typos you missed, so it’s a win-win.

5. Use Action Verbs

Finally, don’t forget about action verbs, or, as some recruiters call them, power verbs. All the bullet points in your experience section start with verbs in the past tense (completed, lead,optimized), right? Those are action verbs. Using a variety of them in your resume is important for increasing its readability, showing off your vocabulary, and impressing the person reading it.

For the best results, include a few action verbs used in the job description and then add a few relevant and somewhat original ones. You can find lists of action verbs for different positions online, so you don’t need to unleash your inner creative writer. Instead, aim for the right balance between standard (completed, led, managed) and unique.

An Afterword

Tailoring your resume to the job listing you’re applying for isn’t optional if you want the recruiter to recognize that you’re a fantastic candidate. Study the job description, include keywords, research the company’s online presence, and use action verbs. Rewriting your resume for every application might seem like too much trouble, but it’s worth it.

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