A common mistake many job seekers make is creating a generic resume to send out to dozens of employers. Unfortunately, hiring managers can spot a canned template from miles away and aren't likely to give your resume a second glance if it's not customized to the position and company you're applying to. Follow these tips to create a dynamic, tailored resume that increases your chances of getting an interview.
Start With a Template
There is no need to reinvent the wheel each time you apply for a job. To give yourself a head start, create a base resume template centered around your qualifications and experience. Include all of your work history and skills here; don't worry if it goes over one page. The point is to list everything you've got, and then edit later. Every time you apply for a new job, you can remove irrelevant content, edit what's left and save the finished document as a new file.
Study the Job Description
Take the guesswork out of customizing your resume by looking to the job description for clues. Here, the company lays out the exact experience, qualifications and even personality traits it is looking for in a candidate. The person who reads your resume is likely to compare it to the job description, and the better it matches, the more likely it is that you'll be called for an interview.
Many companies use applicant tracking software to sift through hordes of resumes and narrow the candidate pool. In order for your resume to make it past the initial screening, it must contain the same keywords found in the job posting. Go back to the post and pull out the most emphasized words and phrases related to work experience, education, skills and responsibilities. Use these same words and phrases throughout your resume in the relevant sections. Whether a computer or a human reads your resume, using the right keywords helps illustrate a strong connection between the company's needs and your qualifications.
Remove Irrelevant Information
Now that your resume is full of relevant information from the job description, it is time to pare it down by removing qualifications that don't add value. Hiring managers are unlikely to see the valuable experience you have if they have to read through a bunch of irrelevant information to get to it. For example, your experience with Microsoft Excel is not likely to win you any extra points if you're applying to be a graphic designer. This editing process for each application may seem time-consuming, but it's totally worthwhile to include only the strongest and most relevant information if you want to craft a powerful, targeted resume that gets results.
Customizing your resume for each job you apply for is an effective way to capture the attention of hiring managers. Remember, companies only care about the skills and qualifications that are relevant to their needs; it is up to you to illustrate the connection between what they need and what you can provide.
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