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How to Customize Your Resume

In my last post I stressed the importance of customizing your resume to specifically match every position to which you apply.  Since I’m frequently asked how to go about doing this, I wanted to go into a bit of detail for you.

At the very beginning of your resume, it’s important that you include specific references to the requirements for that position.  First, you should include a few bullet points listing your experience and/or accomplishments relating to the job requirements.  Then, follow this with a short paragraph that outlines your overall experience and skill set, specifically tailored for that job.

For an example of how this should appear in your resume, see the sample resume at:  http://www.job-search-steps.com/chronological-resume.html.  Notice the bullet points at the top, followed by the short paragraph of overall skills and experience.  This is where you want to include references to the job qualifications, worded exactly as they appear in the job posting.

Most job postings follow this general format: they give a brief overview of the job responsibilities, followed by a more specific listing of the qualifications required.  Folks, this is gold – they are telling you exactly what they want to see in your resume!  If you give it to them, you’ll greatly increase your chances of getting an interview.

What you should do is print a hard copy of the job posting and then read it several times in detail.  Highlight or underline the specific skills and experience requirements and use those exact words in your resume.

For example, let’s say an opening for a computer software developer states the requirements as follows:   “experience in developing Java applications, .Net applications, and working with Oracle relational databases”.  You’ll need to specifically use the terms “Java”, “.Net” and “Oracle relational databases” in the bullets at the top of your resume.  Then, work in as many of the other skills mentioned as you can (assuming, of course that you have those skills) into the overview paragraph following the bullet points.

This way, the Hiring Manager sees immediately that you are qualified for the position and that your resume deserves some attention.

As a Hiring Manager, I usually have dozens of resumes to review for a particular opening.  I will freely admit that if I don’t see something in about the first half of the first page that tells me that person is qualified, I stop reading and go on to the next resume.  In today’s hyper-competitive job market, I simply get too many resumes for each opening to spend the time plowing through each one to determine if that person has the necessary skills.

So please, don’t make me do this!  Tell me right up front why you are a good fit for my particular opening and I’ll be much more likely to put your resume in the “To be Interviewed” stack. Consider using resume writer services if necessary to make sure your resume is up to par before submitting it for any job application.

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