Customise Your Resume – Tips & Tricks

To set yourself up for success in your job search, you will need to make minor adjustments to your resumé to each specific job you are targeting.  Below are some key pointers and insights that will help you tailor your own document, thus saving you money!

Start by copying the master resumé document and renaming it like this: YOUR NAME_Company Name_Date.doc

Your resume already contains keywords and phrases for the career target you identified.  However, it will be your job to check each job description before you apply to see if you need to add or replace any of the words in your resumé that might be used differently.

For example, some companies use “sales” and “marketing” as distinct roles, and others use them interchangeably.  If you are applying for a sales role, and your resumé uses the word sales, check the job description to make sure your target company also uses the word sales.  If they don’t, change some of the references to sales in your resumé to match the keywords that the company is using.

If you are spending more than 30 – 45 minutes customising a resumé, you may need to reconsider the jobs you are applying for, to ensure they align with your original target.

Here are common customisations that may be necessary:

Summary:   Start with the headline or your final sentence in your profile section.  Copy the job title such as Sales Director, Corporate Finance Officer, or Customer Service Representative from the job description in this section.

Skills List:   You may have a section on your resumé that lists your main skill set as related to the career target identified.  This section can and should be modified each time you send the resume out to a specific opportunity.  Skim the job ad for the specific skills that are required and highlight any of them that match your background.  For example, if the job description says that the successful candidate will “build trust-based relationships with key customers”, the skill to include is “Relationship Building” or “Customer Relationship Management.”

Experience:  To tailor the experience section, change only enough information to shift the focus or emphasis to match the core requirements of the targeted position.

Staying with our sales/marketing example, let’s say you have held several types of sales positions, and you are applying for a membership sales job.  Your membership sales experience is 3 years ago, the second job on your resumé.  To highlight this experience, bring the membership sales bullet point in this position to the top of the list and mention this specific experience in the skills list.  

You can also adjust key achievements to better match the targeted opportunity.  For example, perhaps one of your achievement bullets points has the keyword stakeholder management.  If the specific job opportunity requires collaboration across functions, you simply substitute stakeholder management for cross-functional collaboration to better match the opportunity.

Sometimes tailoring the experience section may involve tweaking an older position that do not apply to the new opportunity.  The key here is to highlight experience relevant to the target role.

Other Notes: 

  • · After making changes to your resumé, be sure that you have not changed the format.
  • · Double-check that there are no additional spaces between paragraphs, sections, words and sentences.
  • · Make sure you have not accidentally used a different font, colour or size of font.
  • · Ensure you have not created any errors with spelling, punctuation or layout.
  • · Resave the document as a PDF copy.  This is done by exporting to PDF or “Save As”, choose file extension .pdf

Please see the YouTube Video to view a sample process of tailoring your resumé online.  If you have further questions about tailoring your resumé, please contact Julie for further assistance or advice.