Why It’s Important to Write Targeted Resumes

Guest author, Brenna Johnson

A targeted resume focuses on a specific job opportunity and highlights the skills and experience needed for that job opening. When sending a targeted resume, it will either be written or edited for each job you apply for. 

Taking the extra time to write a targeted resume could be absolutely critical to a successful job search. It allows you to show your potential employer why you will be an excellent fit for this job. Cover letters are often targeted. Adding a targeted resume will perfectly showcase why you are perfectly qualified for the job. 

Need help writing a resume? Career Resumes provides a FREE Resume Critique.

Steps to Writing a Targeted Resume

To save time, you can write a core resume, which you can then edit. This can be your base template. Writing a targeted resume will be easier if you follow these basic steps.

Prepare a Core Resume

Write down everything from your history that could come in useful when writing resumes. This can include previous jobs, education, skills, training, and competencies. This will give you a model which you will never submit to a potential employer but will be a rich resource that you can draw from time and again. You can write as many pages as you wish. 

Research Job Requirements

When responding to a specific job, write down all the listed job requirements. Then think about what experience you have that will be most relevant and be sure to highlight this in your resume. After looking at the job requirements, you can also think about the job duties. What experience or education do you have that will match the duties of the position? You could also research the company, its core values, and business mission, and see how you can make your resume align with their model. 

If you aren’t applying for a specific job, but you are submitting your resume to an online database, you can do research into what requirements are generally needed in your field. You could do this by looking at job ads that match the kind of jobs you are looking for. Whether you are applying to be a team leader, a sales rep, or a product manager, make sure you are well versed in the general requirements of your field. 

Tailor Your Resume 

After compiling all the job requirements, scour your core resume to find everything that will improve your chances of landing the job. You can now start writing and editing. Begin by writing a resume title that matches the job title the hiring company uses. You can then customize the other sections of your resume to include all the most relevant skills and accomplishments.  

Double Check Your Resume

With all the editing and rewriting you have done in order to tailor your resume, it is easy to make basic spelling and formatting mistakes. Be sure to go over your resume with a fine comb, making sure everything is perfect. 

Use Relevant Keywords

A job-specific resume should include keywords related to your industry. This will show potential employers that you have experience in the field. Many companies will use software that will automatically scan your resume. With relevant keywords, you are more likely to pass this phase of the application process, and get the resume into the hands of a real person. If the company is using an internal communications platform, they may share amongst themselves the list of potential employers that seem to be a good fit. 

Which Parts of a Resume Need to be Customized?

The answer to this is, nearly all of it. All of these parts of a resume should be tailored to a specific job:

  • Professional title
  • Professional summary
  • Skills
  • Experience
  • Education
  • Additional resume sections

Target Your Cover Letter

Once you have a targeted resume, writing a cover letter should be easy. Make sure you start by addressing the hiring manager by name. Express your interest in the position. Offer a preview of your resume by illustrating why you are the perfect fit. Talk about the most notable and important details, using keywords, and then end with a call to action.

Things to Consider

Overuse of keywords can be detected by software and hiring managers. Don’t mindlessly repeat these words in a bid to stuff as many as possible into your resume. Don’t try to be clever with the job title. Simply copy the job title the company has listed. It’s as simple as that.

Don’t be wishy-washy when listing your experience. Be sure to include specific companies, job titles, quantifiable achievements, and keywords. Don’t list vague skills such as “active listening”. If you are applying to be a restaurant manager, list “managing restaurant events”, rather than saying something vaguer, like “management”. 

Give numbers and figures. A restaurant manager could say “I increased customer satisfaction by 10% across all review platforms”. This makes it tangible. When listing your education, you can include specific coursework that is relevant to the job. You can also add extra resume sections that are specifically for this job. This could be something such as a relevant volunteering experience. 

In Summary

In the competitive corporate world, you need to do everything you can to stand out. Writing a generic resume and sending it to every employer may mean you don’t even pass software tests and get your resume in the hands of a real person. 

Doing thorough research of the job requirements and tailoring your resume so it matches the specific requirements will give you the best possible chance of getting hired. Nearly every part of a resume can be customized in this way. 

If you have a core resume that lists all of your achievements, skills, education, and job experience, it should be easy to pull from this everything that is most relevant. It will then be a matter of whittling down and highlighting what is most pertinent to each job. 

When customizing each resume in this way, it can be easy to make simple spelling and formatting mistakes. Be sure to check everything very thoroughly before sending it off for submission.

Need more job search advice?

Join Our DiscussionDoes your linkedin profile need a makeover

For more insights and a community of like-minded professionals join our LinkedIn group Resume Help and Advice for Professionals and Executives

Author Bio: Brenna Johnson

I am an HR professional based in New York with a passion for technology and modernizing our industry. I help shape selectsoftwarereviews.com as senior editor, providing expert advice on the best HR and Recruiting software. 

Leave a Comment