How to Use Your Dream Job Description to Perfect Your Resume

How to tailor your resume to a job description

Few people enjoy writing resumes, so it’s tempting to blast them out in bulk (changing little more than the company name each time) when job hunting. But while that may seem like a time-efficient approach, it could cost you your dream job. You may be a rockstar candidate, but recruiters can’t tell that from generic personal branding assets!

Although sometimes challenging, it’s essential to take the time needed to tailor your resume for each company. The good news? The right framework can lessen the hassle. Check out today’s tips for how to tailor your resume to job descriptions.

Why You Should Tailor Your Resume to Job Descriptions

I already hinted at this in the introduction, but let’s do a bit more of a deep dive. While matching your resume with a job description can be a lot of work, it will pay off massive dividends by:

Removing the Guesswork

Many people struggle with resume writing because they don’t know what to write or feel uncomfortable with “bragging” about their professional accomplishments. But here’s the thing: well-written job descriptions remove all the mystery, meaning you don’t have to guess what the company you’re applying to wants to see on your resume. All you have to do is take the information and reframe it from your perspective and experience as a candidate.

Distinguishing You From the Crowd

This happens in at least two ways. First, since most people don’t bother to closely study job descriptions and use the information to create a resume that speaks directly to the company in question, doing so will automatically put you above the fold. And second, the level of care you put into your resume says something about your character and professionalism. If you go the extra mile, recruiters will notice.

Making Interview Prep Easier

Putting more effort into tailoring your resume will prompt you to do more than just skim job descriptions; it will force you to analyze the information and understand the type of candidate the company wants. You will find it much easier to prepare for and ace interviews when you thoroughly understand the company’s needs!

Creating a Strong Template for Repeat Use

Lastly, even though the goal is to customize your resume whenever you send it out, that doesn’t mean you need to reinvent the wheel every time. If you’re searching for a specific job in a particular industry, you’ll notice that many job ads use similar terms and phrases after a while. You can use the similarities as a foundation and tailor your resume to specific situations as necessary.

5 Tips for Tailoring Your Resume to Job Descriptions

Now that you understand some of the benefits let’s talk about how to tailor your resume so you can land more interviews. Try these five tips to make this task easier:

Choose Your Job Descriptions Carefully

If your goal is to level up your career, it’s time to get picky about the jobs you’ll apply to. Also, since it takes some effort to tailor your resume to a job description, focus on doing this task only for companies you genuinely feel aligned with. In other words, find job ads that describe the role you actually want!

If you’re not having much luck finding real job descriptions, find samples that resonate with you and start with those instead.

Read Between the Lines

Take the time to carefully read and understand the role described in the job ad. Even though it’s formatted as a list of candidate requirements, remember that a job ad represents a company’s desire for a specific type of individual with a unique set of skills. Take the time to get to know that “person” and see if you’re a good fit.

Make Your “Professional Summary” Immediately Relevant

Once you’ve studied the job posting in detail, start your resume with an introductory professional summary that summarizes the overarching theme. This immediately signals your firm grasp of the company’s needs to the recruiter or hiring manager reviewing your application.

For example:

“Detail-focused, conscientious CPA experienced in full-cycle accounting seeking to transition into the tech industry and take on a new, challenging role as a full-time Accountant with [insert company name].”

Highlight Core Competencies

“Core Competencies” are the collection of skills, traits and capabilities you will need to thrive in the company’s culture and succeed in the advertised role. For example, an administrative assistant’s core competencies might be things like Communication, Time Management and Microsoft Office Suite Proficiency.

Not every job ad explicitly lists core competencies required, so once again, listing the right ones on your resume may depend on your ability to read between the lines and thoroughly understand the job posting!

Include Measurable Results

Avoid simply rewording the job ad requirements and listing them to describe your experience. Try to weave in as many measurable results as possible to demonstrate the impact you’ve created for previous companies. For example, a CPA might say, “Reduced the month-end close process from 21 days to 13 days by auditing and streamlining accounting processes.”

Even if you don’t have measurable results, you can still create a strong impact through specificity. For example, instead of “Managed a team,” you can say, “Trained and managed a diverse team of 15 to complete challenging projects on time and within budget.”

Pack More Punch With Power Verbs

Lastly, avoid phrases like “responsible for” when describing past work accomplishments. This type of language is vague and unengaging. At the same time, try not to work in too many buzzwords like “spearheaded.” While slightly more engaging, these terms are often overused and don’t really convey much meaning.

Instead, use direct, power-packed action words that are easy to understand and impactful. This list provides a solid collection of verbs to start with!

Tying it All Together

Tailoring your resume isn’t a walk in the park, but trust me, it gets easier with practice, and you will experience much better job search results. If you need a second set of eyes on your newly tailored resume (or feel like your tailoring efforts just aren’t paying off, hit me up for a free resume review!

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