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Easy Steps to Customize Your Resume for the Job You're Applying for Right Now  
11/23/2011 5:49:35 PM

By Angela Rose, BioSpace.com

In the old days, back when folks were still kick-starting their dinosaurs, one version of a resume may have been perfectly adequate for applying to multiple jobs. Times have changed, and modern jobseekers have had to change with them. Hiring managers and human resources departments are inundated with resumes for every available position. If you want yours to stand out, you have to give them what they want. The best way to do this is with a little customization.

Creating a customized resume is not as time consuming as it may sound. Besides, the time you put in is well worth the effort if you want to increase your chances of receiving a coveted interview slot. Just start with the job posting and your generic resume, which is the one you’ve been using to apply for jobs.

1. Really read that job description. Make note of the credentials, skills and experience required. How does it describe the duties of the job? How does it describe the ideal candidate? Pulling from these descriptions, create a list of keywords and phrases to use when customizing your generic resume.

2. Target your title. If your resume begins with a title, don’t leave it generic in nature. Instead, use the exact title listed in the job posting. For example, rather than “lab manager,” you might use “lab manager - molecular.”

3. Tweak your objective. If you elect to include an objective, customize it to include some of the keywords and qualifications you gleaned from the job description. For extra zing, mention the company’s name. For example, instead of writing “to utilize my skills and experience within a managerial position,” you might write, “to contribute to the success of XYZ Company by increasing departmental efficiencies through diligent management and thorough evaluation of processes.”

4. Include quality qualifications. If your resume contains a qualifications summary, remove statements that are not specific to the goals of the position for which you are applying. Add information about qualifications that are relevant. Reorder as needed to place the most relevant qualifications first.

5. Edit your job descriptions. They should be relevant to the position for which you are applying. For example, if your job duties within a particular position included two dozen main tasks, focus on the ones that correspond to the job for which you are applying. A hiring manager doesn’t really need to know everything you did at your last job, just what you did that is relevant to what she needs you to do.

6. Consider past positions in a different light. If you’ve only worked jobs that appear unrelated to the position for which you’re currently applying, don’t despair. A little careful thought should illuminate skill sets gained that you can word relevantly. For example, if you were formerly a dog walker and you’re now applying for a receptionist position, focus on skills such as responsibility and communication rather than actual duties such as dog grooming.

Finish up with a quick review of what you’ve written. Have you mentioned all the skills, credentials and experience you originally noted? Have you used all your keywords? If you can answer yes to both questions, you can send the resume knowing you’ve done everything possible to capture the attention of the hiring manager and move your resume to the top of the stack.

About the Author

Angela Rose researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for BioSpace.com.