Tips for Customizing Your Resume

May 30, 2017

Business research reveals that most HR professionals will only spend six seconds scanning each resume. Due to the fact that each job opening will receive hundreds of resumes, it’s best to customize your resume for jobs that closely match your skills and background. Resume customization doesn’t mean a complete re-write, but rather it means adjusting your content to attract the attention of a busy HR manager.

Step One – Analyze the Job Ad

So many job hunters make the mistake of using the machine gun approach to job hunting – they spend hours randomly applying to all sorts of job with the same standard resume. This is very labor intensive, but it will only yield minimal results. Carefully reading the job description will reveal the appropriate keywords for duties, education and qualifications. Since most companies rely on screening software to digitally scan resumes, it’s critical to add keywords to your resume. Bear in mind that most of these keywords can be placed in the top half of resume where the HR manager will start reading.

Step Two – Customize Your Objective and Skills

It’s quite common for job hunters to place a one-line objective at the top of the resume, followed by a bullet point list of skills and highlights. This concisely introduces the candidates, but it’s only useful when adapted for specific jobs. An administrative assistant who applies for a medical office specialist position shouldn’t generically state that they want to gain employment in a business office or pursue a medical related career.  Instead, they should insert the job ad’s job title into their career objective.  A computer networking professional should include the target company’s network model and system in their objective.

Step Three – Adjust Your Skills

Next, your skills summary should match the job ad requirements. An administrative assistant shouldn’t vaguely say that they have Microsoft Office skills. Instead, they should specify that they have advanced knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel and Access. Similarly, a computer programmer should list their fluent languages such as Java and C+. A licensed manicurist should include their credentials like a certification or license number. It is always better to have more of the right keywords than generic content as long as they apply to you. Keep the skill list of bullet points to around five or six lines. Some people prefer to use a qualification or performance paragraph to summarize their skills.

Step Four – Review Your Job History

HR managers are often annoyed at job applicants who stretch the imagination to the breaking point through exaggerating their compatible skills. That is, a custodian has no excuse presenting themselves as a maintenance technician if they only perform housekeeping duties, just as an entry-level engineer has no business claiming that they can supervise the cleaning crew. Thoughtfully consider your past job duties and positions in order to justify adding the target job ad’s keywords. For example, a manual laborer who worked closely with engineers has every right to claim that they are familiar with technical concepts and practices.

Step Five – Verify Your Location.

Many job hunters who live out-of-town or -state naturally depend on getting a job in order to move to their desired location. However, most HR managers prefer to hire someone who is already located nearby.  Local candidates are more likely to remain in the job, be on time and recommend their friends for employment. Many companies want to invest long-term in their employees, just like job hunters want to find a permanent position with a good company. The top of your resume should only indicate your general location, such as the town’s name or city’s geographical area.

Finally, be sure to present your achievements through quantifiable goals and measurable results. You can demonstrate that you have experienced success through highlighting your calculable contributions to projects and programs. You can learn more about updating and adjusting your resume here.

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