Fitting Your Resume to the Job Posting

John Krautzel
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Sending a hiring manager a customized resume improves your chances of landing an interview and being hired for the job of your dream. One of the best ways to create a customized resume is to review the job posting carefully and make sure your resume reflects all of the requirements listed. Follow these tips to make sure your resume matches the job posting as closely as possible.

Automated applicant-tracking systems are one of the first hurdles you need to clear during the hiring process. Instead of having a human review thousands of resumes, an employer using an applicant-tracking system uses software to scan each resume for certain words and phrases. If your resume doesn't have the right words, you have very little chance of making it to the next round of the hiring process. When you create a customized resume, you must include the same words and phrases listed in the job description. Organized, managed, consulted, coached and hired are just a few of the words that make an impact on hiring managers.

One way to make sure your resume matches the job description is to rewrite the job description in your own words. Job advertisements typically include extra information, such as salary range or company perks, which you don't need to include on your resume. Rewriting the job description makes it easier to see what the hiring manager really wants in a candidate. Use bullet points to organize your thoughts.

Once you have a list of essential qualifications, go through your resume and highlight each one. If you only have one or two listed, you need to rewrite your resume completely. Most hiring managers only look at a resume for a few seconds before making a decision, so don't hurt your chances by submitting a resume that doesn't match the job description. If most of the highlighted qualifications appear toward the bottom of your customized resume, consider moving them to the top of the first page. This makes it easier for hiring managers to see that you meet all of the requirements of the job, even if they don't read your resume in its entirety.

Now that you've done all the prep work, write a customized resume that closely reflects the requirements listed in the job description. Try to mimic the format and word placement of the original job advertisement or internal posting. If organizational skills are the first thing mentioned in the posting, there's a good chance the hiring manager places a lot of value in finding candidates who excel at being organized. When you write your resume, organizational skills should appear somewhere near the top of the first page.

Creating a customized resume is a great way to capture the interest of hiring managers. For best results, make sure the qualifications listed in your resume are an exact match to the requirements listed in the job description.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at



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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Christina thanks for your comment. It is true that temp agencies work that way. They get a percentage of our salary. But, as the worker, it is up to me to do great work and to find my own way in the door for a permanent position if the company is for me. I kind of like temp work because you get to check out the company firsthand and know if, at the end of the temp time, you want to pursue a permanent position. It's kind of like renting! But I agree that it's not for everyone. For me, I would use a temp agency in a heartbeat. I have been in two great jobs because I went through a temp agency. As for voting, I am with you 100%. If you don't vote, then your voice doesn't need to be heard. Just my opinion, of course. I think that we will come out of this on the other side but it's taking so much longer than anyone ever predicted. Hopefully things will change in the next couple of years. We go through cycles. Ten years ago, temp agencies were closing their doors because people didn't need them - weren't using them. Today, temp agencies are springing up everyone because more and more companies are bringing in temp workers. Why? Because it's cheaper and they don't have to pay benefits. I am guessing that also will change in the next few years. Wishing you all the best Christina.

  • Christina C.
    Christina C.

    Hi Nancy, I can't say I totally agree with your opinion on the higher the wages the less employees and businesses. However, I can say that based on CNN World News late last year they showed that more jobs are available in the USA but with the salary as 1/2 as what the permanent employees were making which creates the appearance that there's an abundance of jobs. So you have companies doing huge layoffs so they can not only cover themselves after those Million $ lawsuits like JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America to name a few then they get agencies/outsource recruiters to hire people for way less and just keep recycling the positions after they get you to do excellent work and then back to the temp hires all over again. See these temp agencies are paid the part of the pay you could be earning for the position (if normally the salary for the job description was $25hrly the agency says the company is only paying $14hrly they get their cut and the company profits off only needing to hire maybe 10 temp workers that they use to get a job done vs permanent employees that will have to be under that companies health insurance umbrella etc). It boils down to voting really, if people don't vote they can't make the necessary economical changes and we all end up struggling and don't get me started on the government assistance programs that are supposedly in place to help during layoffs.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Joseph absolutely. There is no harm in having more than one resume and have them formatted differently. Having the information, in detail, when you are sitting in an interview is always a good idea. Interviews are stressful so anything that you can do to alleviate the stress is good. Having the information right there where you can just glance at it and then respond to a question really helps. How many times have you been in an interview where you are asked a question and your mind goes completely blank. Having details of your accomplishments as well as any other information you might need will help you to relax and be yourself. I don't mean that you should have a ream of paper with you. Just some copious notes. And by all means, practice, practice, practice before an interview. Find a bank of interview questions an answer them ahead of time. Get with a friend and have them ask you questions. You could also videotape yourself during the "mock" interview so that you can see how you look and how you sound as well as your body language. Sometimes this is all you need. You want to be ready when the hiring manager says - oh I see you have worked in this position so can you tell me what you did? You won't have to stutter and stammer but be ready with the response. Best of luck.

  • Joseph F.
    Joseph F.

    I've gotten the suggestion to use a formatted resume as you have suggested and then bring a second resume to the interview that details the accomplishments of my history in chronological order. Do you agree with this approach?

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Peter thanks for your comment. So your resume is getting attention but something else is getting in the way. Have you asked the recruiters why? Are you getting interviews? If you are getting interviews but no job, then maybe it is the way you are coming across in the interview. When the interview is over, are you asking for next steps? Getting a phone number to follow up? Are you sending a thank you note after the interview? It could be so many different things. But, since you are using recruiters, I would follow up with them and ask why you did not get the job and what can you do to improve your chances on the next interview. Best of luck to you.

  • Peter S.
    Peter S.

    Thanks for the advice. Recruiters call me and comment on my resume and background but still not getting the jobs I have applied. Any suggestion please>

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Christina thanks for your comment. Sorry you are going through a rough period right now. Keep trying - the jobs are there and more and more jobs are posted every day. You mention not being able to live on $12/hr! Just a year ago, the min wage was around $7.50/hr so making $12/hr is good. Everyone thinks that they need to earn $25/hr but the real truth is that the higher the wages, the higher the cost of living. I don't know if you have noticed or not but everything is going up because people are fighting for higher wages. Those higher wages are going to buy the same as that $7.50/hr bought a year or two ago. Take McDonald's for example. Those workers fought to get $15/hr and what was the end result? About 900 franchises were lost along with workers, managers, food suppliers, etc. being out of work. Personally I feel that we need more jobs, not higher wages. The higher the wage, the fewer the workers. Please note that is my opinion - not that of Beyond. We wish you all the best in finding that permanent position.


    Good to know thanks it's really helpful

  • Christina C.
    Christina C.

    I totally agree with Rhonda S. I live in Jax, FL and the job market is sketchy! I can't seem to land a permanent job everything is through temp agencies. How do they expect people to live off $12 an hour and pay normal bills and Lord knows it's extremely hard if you have a family. I can't even afford health insurance and these temp agencies look at you like a #, they don't care if you desire a permanent position they want you to be satisfied with the temp work and low pay they helped you get. I've even gone in to places to speak with a hiring manager to see if I can get on at their company (they say go online).

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Rhonda sounds like you are doing things right. Don't give up. It takes longer to get a job today than it has in the past. The jobs are there, though. Make sure that you are using all of the tools at your fingertips. Are you on social media? Do you have a LinkedIn account? Are you searching or just putting your stuff out there hoping someone will contact you? Be proactive. Network. It will happen. Companies are opening up their hiring now and more jobs are being posted. Only a matter of time.

  • Rhonda S.
    Rhonda S.

    I have done exactly what this article said and still no work for full time employment. I have four different types of resume for Database Specialist, data analysis, project coordinators, and technical support . I even gone back to school. This is very stressful trying to find work.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Maria everyone has an opinion of the way their resume should be written - chronological or functional. Typically an employer will be looking for a chronological one so that they can readily see your progression throughout your career. But it is totally up to you which format you use.


    In rewriting my resume to reflect the requirements listed in the job description, does it matter if doing so, my work experiences will not be in chronological order (meaning time-wise)?

  • Harold (Bo) Moffitt
    Harold (Bo) Moffitt

    Good information thanks

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