Adapting your resume specifically each time you send it out can benefit you in a number of ways. Most importantly, tailoring your resume demonstrates respect for your potential employer, and shows that you are taking the process seriously—that will immediately set yourself apart from the many people who simply send out the same generic resume with each application. Secondly, sending a tailored resume to a potential employer helps the employer to “see” you in the job position, which will go a long way toward getting you an interview. Finally, tailoring your resume is another great way to take advantage of keyword technology.
When tailoring your resume for a specific employer, keep a few things in mind. First, use the company name, as well as specifics about the company, whenever possible in your resume. Second, mirror the phrasing of the job listing as closely as possible. If the job listing mentions a specific skill being a prerequisite, make sure to include that skill in your resume. Third, don’t repeat yourself. If, for example, you were given an award for your published work, do not mention the same published work in both the Awards section and the Publications section. Finally, when tailoring your resume, leave out as much irrelevant information as possible. The goal is to get the resume as close to one page as is possible, while still maintaining appropriate font and margin sizes.
When it comes to the organization of documents, everybody has a favorite way of doing things. It is a good idea, at this stage of the process, to think about how you will organize your resumes and other employment documents. It may be helpful to first create a folder on your computer’s hard drive where you will keep all of your employment-related documents, and then save your master resume to that location. Later, as part of each job application, you might want to copy-and-paste the relevant sections of your master resume into a new document, and then save the new resume as a different document—perhaps with the company name as the name of the document. That way, you will have a folder with all of the different resumes you send out stored in one place. It’s a good idea, when you go on a job interview, to bring a printed copy of your resume with you—so make sure you save a copy of each specific resume that you send out, and make sure that you print the right one before a job interview. If you are sending out a lot of resumes, it may be helpful to maintain a list of the company names and the dates on which you applied to each company.
Check out this video from our Resume Skills tutorial: