Themes count. If you want to be an accountant and you have the resume of a space pirate ninja, you’re going to have a hard time getting potential employers to take you seriously. Lying on a resume is never wise, and neither is crowding it with irrelevant information. It’s time to change the way you think about resumes, and everyone should stop thinking that one resume is enough. Tailoring your resume will improve your chances of landing your dream career, and it’s not very hard to make those adjustments.
Create a Basic Template
The only immovable part of your resume should be the template. Obviously, things like your name and contact information aren’t going to change. Leave them on the hard copy of your template. Create a few sections for work experience and education. If you only have one or two experiences for each, you can leave them on the hard copy as well. Everything else needs to be able to be changed. Don’t fill the other sections in until you know what job you intend to apply for.
Pay Attention to the Adjectives
When you’re reading job descriptions on a job board, take note of the adjectives. Do they need someone who is a jack of all trades? Do they need someone who is especially creative with routine matters? Those are the things that should draw your attention. If you have relevant experiences that show you’re able to take on those tasks, those are the experiences you need to include on your resume. These adjectives are often what separate an average candidate from a perfect cultural fit.
Keep Things Short
Long, flowery descriptions are difficult to read. The people who are reviewing your resume have seen it all before. Great skills often hide behind that flowery language. Never express in a paragraph what could easily be expressed in two sentences. This makes your resume shorter and easier to read, while allowing the highlights of your background and qualifications to stand out.
Remove any tangents you may have included, especially if they don’t have anything to do with the position you’re applying for. You can save those stories for the interview if you find the perfect opportunity to tell them.
Know What to Omit
If they need someone who is especially creative, your experience as a normal file clerk probably won’t be very relevant. Quality will always trump quantity. If you feel that an experience is relevant to the position but it would take too long to express its relevance on paper, see if you can bring it up as a response to an interview question. When you’re tailoring your resume, your main aim is to get your foot through the door of that office. Save a little for later – it may even improve your interview experience.
You have to be able to back up everything you’ve stated in your tailored resume. If an employer is very interested in you, provide them with a link to your online portfolio. Even if you have a wide variety of work in your online portfolio, that’s okay. The employer will know what they’re looking for when they show up. As long as your portfolio is easy to view and organized well, it will serve as the perfect complement to your tailored resume. It also keeps things from getting too crowded on paper, and makes it easier to lead employees to relevant examples. You won’t have to manually individually embed them into your tailored resumes.
It may seem like more work to tailor your resumes, but it’s worth it in the end. You’re showing that you’re a promising candidate who is willing to put in the effort for your potential employer. This isn’t something that will go unnoticed, and the staff reviewing your resume will appreciate a tailored resume as a great first impression.