Time to Read: 4 mins
Tailor Your Resume to the Job Description Summary:
- Job searching online is convenient, but the vast reach of the internet means that most jobs receive many unqualified applicants.
- Many companies utilize Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to help sift through applicant resumes.
- Use the tips below to tailor your resume to the job description and ensure it makes it through ATS and to the eyes of a hiring manager.
Living in a digital world has made it easy for job seekers to quickly search for and apply to jobs with just a few clicks. Although the vast opportunities and ease of application are convenient, it also means an influx of applicants for many positions.
To help filter out unqualified resumes, many companies utilize Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to parse each resume and identify keywords that match their job description. This helps them narrow down the applicant pool to the most qualified candidates.
To get around this hurdle, it is crucial that you tailor your resume to the job description to ensure that your resume ranks highly in the ATS. Doing so will increase your chances of moving forward in the hiring process and help you land an interview.
How to Tailor Your Resume to the Job Description
1. Read The Job Description
To start, thoroughly read through the job description and familiarize yourself with it. Take note of the key skills and duties and get a feel for what the ideal candidate looks like for this role. If there are “must haves” in the description that you don’t have, it may be best to find another job posting so you can better tailor your resume without fabrication or exaggeration.
2. Identify Keywords
Once you familiarize yourself with the job description, carefully read it through again to identify keywords. As you go through, make note of the specific and words phrases used to describe skills and duties.
Consider the following:
- Are there any words used various times throughout?
- Do they list any program or software knowledge requirements?
- What order are things listed? Is anything bolded or underlined?
- Highlight or write these keywords and phrases down.
The more you dissect the job description, the better you will be able to tailor your resume to it.
3. Compare Your Resume to the Job Description
Now that you’ve gone through the posted job description with a fine tooth comb, it is time to go through your own resume and see what lines up. You can either do this digitally, or go the old fashioned route and print out your resume and mark it up with a pen and highlighter.
As you go through, see which of the identified keywords and phrases you already have in your resume. If there are gaps, make note of where they are so you can tailor your resume to fill them.
Consider the following:
- Are there any synonyms you can replace with a keyword?
- Can you rephrase any of your job responsibilities to better align with the job description?
- Is there any relevant information missing that you could add?
This tool allows you to paste both your resume and the job description and scan it for matches. Try it out!
4.Tailor Your Resume
Now for the fun part! All that is left to do is to implement these edits and update your resume. While you make changes, keep the job description nearby to use as a reference. Be sure that everything is spelled correctly and formatted neatly. The last thing you need is for all your hard work to go to waste because your resume is confusing or challenging to read.
5. Reorganize Your Resume
With the keywords and phrases added, you can tailor your resume even further by mimicking the structure of the job description. If skills were listed in a specific order, put yours in that order too. Was there an emphasis on a specific program or software? Move it to the top so it is front and center for the hiring manager.
6. Remove Unnecessary Information
Finally, be sure to include only relevant information in your resume. Even if it can get past ATS with some extra fluff, your ultimate goal in the application process is to reach the eyes of a hiring manager. If your resume is cluttered with irrelevant job histories, this may be distracting and could end up being the deciding factor between you and another applicant.
Any jobs that do not highlight relevant skills or qualifications can be removed. If your job history is limited, remove what you can, but if it must stay, get creative with how you describe your past job duties. Although you should never lie on your resume, thoughtfully wording your accomplishments can turn a seemingly irrelevant accomplishment into a noteworthy one.
For example: Did you fold clothes? Or did you maintain and organize inventory for curated storefront displays? Adding a few details and using strong words can help you exemplify key skills through any of your former jobs.
Whether your resume goes directly into the hands of a hiring manager, or is put through an ATS first, it is important to tailor your resume to the specific of the job you are applying for. The more keywords your resume has that match the job description, the more aligned you will appear to the job. Strategically organizing your resume and implementing keywords throughout will not only help you get through ATS, but will also stand out to the human eyes of a hiring manager.
Feeling confident in your new resume? Use it to apply to one of our current job openings!