A hiring manager filling an opening sees three kinds of resumes: the one-size-fits-all resumes, those that have been modified just slightly to fit the job opening, and resumes specifically tailored to the opportunity. If you were that hiring manager, which resume would most interest you?

Crafting a resume specifically designed for each opportunity is one of the most important things you can do when applying for work. Tailoring your resume immediately sets you apart, and helps the hiring manager see rather than imagine how your skills and experience match the requirements of the job. Here’s how to do it:

Research is key to a winning resume

First, research the hiring company, its industry, and the specific position. Visit the company website, its LinkedIn profile, and check it out on Hoovers.com. You want to find out the company’s core values, what it has accomplished, and where it’s headed.

To start networking with professionals in the industry, connect with them on LinkedIn, regularly read industry newsletters (perhaps from the company of interest), attend industry conferences and stop by the booths of interesting companies. Most importantly, request to schedule an informational interview at each company you’re interested in. This shows your interest and dedication to learning more about the company.

Determine the most important information

Next, determine what the most important information is and how you can reflect that in your resume. Hiring managers expect applicants to demonstrate their understanding of the industry and the position’s biggest challenges. You can stand out by not only having knowledge of these topics, but by positioning yourself as someone who can address those issues. Show them your value! It’s not enough to have skills and experience; you have to paint a picture of how you will make a difference in the organization greater than that of other qualified candidates.

Identify the key words

Now drill down into the job description and find those buzzwords. Print out the job description or cut and paste it into a Word document. Highlight all the key words about the industry and the company. Don’t forget to make a list of the key skills and experience needed for the job. You’ll want to drop the exact key words in your resume whenever possible so it’s picked up in applicant tracking software.

Sell yourself

Lastly, decide how to sell yourself as the perfect person for the job. Ask yourself, “What is this company looking for?” Put yourself in their shoes and figure out how to match your experience and skills to what they’re looking for. A good place to catch their attention is the summary statement. This is the first thing they’re going to read on your resume, so make sure you include all of those buzzwords and skills that the job requires. Be concise, but show them you’re exactly what they need.


RiseSmart offers professional resume services as a part of our Transition Concierge outplacement program. Please contact us at 877-384-0004 (option 1)if interested in learning more.

03 May 2012

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