10 Easy Steps to Tailor Your Resume to Any Job Description
The phrase "one and done" can apply to many situations, but writing your resume shouldn't be one of them.
A "generic resume" or "one perfect resume" just won't cut it anymore.
Considering the technology available and what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for (combined with the number of people applying for a role in today's market), you need to showcase that you're unique to stand out.
How can you do that? By learning how to tailor your resume in a way that corresponds to the job description of the role you're trying to land.
3 key takeaways
- What a tailored resume is (and why it's essential in your job search!)
- Steps for how to tailor your resume
- Tips for tailoring your resume using the free Teal AI Resume Builder
What is a tailored resume?
A tailored resume is a customized resume explicitly designed to match the requirements of a particular job or company you're applying to. A tailored resume aims to demonstrate how the candidate is the best fit for the job and increase their chances of getting hired.
Customization in this situation means considering the language used in the specific job description, the responsibilities mentioned, and even researching the employer's expectations before including certain words or facts on your resume.
Tailoring a resume is an excellent way to increase your chances of standing out from other applicants and being noticed by hiring managers.
Why you should tailor your resume to the job description
Crafting a unique and tailored resume is crucial because it significantly increases your chances of receiving an interview invite. And with so many applicants to compete with during the hiring process, you have to take all the steps you can to get noticed, and tailoring your resume is a great way to do this.
Whether you're in project management or hold a job title as a sales manager, your general resume should always be tailored to the specific job description you're applying to. To prove you're the best fit for the job, customize your resume in a way that draws attention to the fact that you've taken the time to research the company and understand the job requirements. Doing this also shows that you pay attention to detail and are willing to put in the extra effort to secure the job.
And not only does tailoring your resume help you stand out from the crowd of other job seekers, but it's also an opportunity to showcase your relevant qualifications in a way that matches the job you're applying for. A tailored resume allows you to highlight valuable skills, experiences, and accomplishments relevant to the position, increasing your chances of being noticed by employers.
Why you should optimize your resume for applicant tracking systems
Behind the scenes, some job search sites and companies use an applicant tracking system or ATS. And while it has somewhat of a negative reputation, the ATS is absolutely nothing to fear.
An ATS is simply a software program that helps companies, recruiters, or hiring managers sort applicants into a virtual filing system. Applicant tracking systems allow hiring teams to find candidates through keyword searches like past titles or specific qualifications—quickly.
By tailoring your resume to the job requirements, you increase the likelihood of hiring managers searching for job-specific keywords to find you, improving your chances of landing an interview.
Pro Tip: With Teal, you can store all of your primary resume information in one place. Then, when you're ready to apply, use the free Teal AI Resume Builder to create tailored resumes by adding and removing specific details in minutes with no manual work. Sign up for your free account and give it a try!
Benefits of tailoring your resume to the job description
Tailoring your resume for each job description might require a bit more effort, but it comes with substantial rewards.
Increased chances of an interview invite
When you customize your resume for a specific job description, you're speaking directly to the hiring manager's needs. Your resume becomes the solution to their problem.
By showcasing your skills and experiences that directly align with the job requirements. In turn, this significantly ups your chances of landing that all-important interview invitation.
Demonstrates research and understanding
Adapting your resume to fit a specific job demonstrates your depth of understanding and keenness for the role.
A tailored resume is a clear sign that you've done your homework and grasp the intricacies of the position and company. It shows you're not just an applicant but a potential asset who's already started thinking about the company's needs.
Highlights relevant qualifications
Your resume should reflect the top 10% of your qualifications that are relevant to the role you're applying to. When you modify your content for each employer's job description, you spotlight your most relevant qualifications for that job. No extraneous details, no fluff—just the essentials they're looking for, served up neatly and compellingly.
Sets you apart from other applicants
In a pool brimming with talent, you want to be the one who stands out. Tailoring your resume helps you do exactly that. It underscores your genuine interest in the position and sets you apart from those candidates sending the same, unmodified resume to numerous companies.
Shows attention to detail and effort
Finally, a customized resume is a testament to your attention to detail and willingness to put in the extra effort. It suggests that if you're meticulous with your job application, you're likely to bring the same level of diligence to your role. This can be a powerful selling point to prospective employers.
How to tailor your resume to a specific job description
This type of resume is created by highlighting and emphasizing the hard and soft skills, professional experience, and key qualifications most relevant to the position you're applying for. And it's often written to directly address the job requirements and responsibilities in the job description.
Whether you're a recent graduate, making a career change, or just ready for a new opportunity, creating a resume that stands out in today's competitive job market is no small feat. But with the right approach, you can tailor your resume to present your relevant experience professionally.
From selecting the right keywords to adding a personal touch to using ChatGPT resume prompts, there are numerous tips and tricks that can help you create a resume that attracts potential employers—so let's get into it!
1. Use a specific job description
The job description will always outline what the company, recruiter, or hiring manager is looking for. Carefully read the JD and take note of the required skills, qualifications, and responsibilities.
Here's the thing, you have to study and understand job descriptions to see if the role seems like the right fit for you. And you also need to do this to identify the best way to customize your resume to fit its needs. Essentially, the job posting is the company telling you exactly what they're looking for.
Some key things to look out for include…
- Whether you need to have a degree
- How many years of experience are required
- What the day-to-day responsibilities are
- What previous work experience is most important
- What tools you'll need to be familiar with
If you want to save time, the Teal Job Application Tracker and Resume Builder highlight the top five hard skills from any job description. With Teal+, you get unlimited keywords like hard skills, soft skills, and other important language—no copy and pasting or toggling between screens.
2. Research the company
Looking into the company you're applying to, what they do, and what they stand for is crucial in your job search. Knowing these facts in your interview process makes a massive difference. As a bonus, it's not as expected in the application process, so understanding the mission, values, and vision can help you stand out.
Look at the company website's website, and check out its social channels to learn more. Zoom in on their core values if they have them publicly available and search for a video about the company and its product.
Knowing and being able to provide important company information throughout the interview process can help demonstrate how you can contribute to the company and what unique value you can bring to the role. Take notes as you do that work, and paste them into the same word editing software mentioned above.
Pro Tip: Search for a podcast that includes the Founder or CEO. Hearing how they describe the company and what they stand for can help you get a feel for their messaging.
3. Dedicate time to the top half of your resume
The top half of your resume is the most important because it is the first section that recruiters and hiring managers see. Making a good impression immediately is crucial to entice them to keep reading.
This section should be concise, well-organized, and visually appealing, using bullet points, headings, and clear language to highlight your key achievements and qualifications.
If you can effectively communicate your value proposition in the top half of your resume, you'll increase the chances of getting an interview and being considered for the job.
4. Adjust your target title
When it comes to the target title of your resume, you might think this should reflect the position you currently hold or held in your last role, but not necessarily.
The target title of your resume should align as closely as possible with the specific job description of the role you're applying for. So that means each time you fill out an application, you may need to tweak your target to fit the specific role the hiring manager is looking for. (For example, titles like Copywriter, Content Writer, and Content Marketer can have many of the same requirements, but the job titles slightly differ.)
Making small changes like this will reflect your thorough understanding of the role.
5. Modify your professional summary
Now that you've saved all the important researched information you need and adjusted your target title, you can customize your professional summary.
The professional summary section, also known as a short professional bio, is the top section of your resume, giving readers a brief overview of your previous work experience and top skills. In this section, you'll want to highlight the most relevant details and unique aspects of your skills and experiences for the job you're applying for.
Copy and paste some primary key skills and responsibilities into this section and lay them out in a way that's similar to the job description. This personalized approach showcases your ability to meet the job requirements and demonstrates your interest and fit for the position. As a result, it can increase your chances of getting noticed by the hiring manager and ultimately landing the job.
6. Customize your resume job description with professional achievements
Your resume job description, or work experience offers insight into your professional impact and results.
Especially when you have several years of job employment history, you should have at least a handful of key accomplishment examples to add. (But of course, these will look different depending on your industry, if you've had multiple positions at the same company, and your seniority.)
Customizing your work experiences on your resume is important because it helps you highlight the achievements and important skills most relevant to the job you are applying for.
This process of tailoring your resume for each job application enables you to demonstrate how you can leverage your existing skills, previous experiences, and accomplishments to meet the position's specific requirements.
By highlighting your work history, you increase the chances of your resume being noticed by the hiring manager and also show that you're a good fit for the job. Additionally, it helps to make your resume stand out among the many other applicants—giving you a competitive edge.
Pro Tip: Quantifying your achievements and relevant accomplishments is a way to showcase your dedication and success in past employment or educational endeavors.
Use the Teal Achievement Assistant to write more impactful achievements that showcase your results, not just your responsibilities. (Or try generating your achievements with AI!)
7. Incorporate relevant keywords
It is important to incorporate resume keywords when tailoring your resume to the job description because it helps ensure that it'll be easily discoverable by potential employers and applicant tracking systems.
By including applicable keywords and similar language from the specific job description in your resume, you increase the chances that your resume will be picked up by these systems and seen by the hiring manager.
Incorporating keywords also …
- Highlights your skills and qualifications as they pertain to the role
- Helps your application stand out when hiring mangers search the ATS
- Demonstrates you're a strong fit for the role
- Shows your understanding of the job responsibilities and ability to perform required tasks
This level of customization also demonstrates that you've taken the time to tailor your entire resume to the specific job, which can impress hiring managers and increase your chances of landing an interview.
To find resume keywords easily, use Teal. The Chrome extension highlights the top five hard skills in every job posting. (With Teal+, you can see all of the skills and keywords without toggling away from the job ad itself.)
8. Check your Match Score
Once you've tailored your resume to the job description, you want to see how closely they align.
The Teal AI Resume Builder compares the skills and important keywords in your resume to the job description of the role you're applying to. It has an analysis mode that grades your content and provides a Match Score.
So what defines success? Well, you want your Match Score to be as close to 80% as possible. To improve your score, incorporate more keywords from the job listing into various resume sections like your achievements, professional summary, and target title.
To get started using Teal to tailor your resume, you need a Teal account. So if you don't have one already, you can sign up for free here.
9. Proofread and edit
Ensure that your updated resume is written in a professional tone and free of errors, typos, and grammatical mistakes.
Proofreading and editing are essential because they help to ensure that the document is free of any errors and inconsistencies, which can negatively impact your chances of being considered for a job.
A well-crafted and error-free resume showcases your attention to detail, professionalism, and competence, which can help you stand out among other applicants and make a positive first impression with potential employers.
Also, proofreading and editing can help you clearly and effectively communicate your qualifications, skills, and relevant experiences, making it easier for hiring managers to understand why you are the right candidate for the job. Make sure to review your resume several times to make any necessary edits to ensure that it presents you in the best possible light.
10. Complement your resume with a custom cover letter
Finally, to seal the deal, use your newly crafted resume and the original job description to create a custom cover letter.
You can do this with the help of AI and ChatGPT. Try a prompt like:
"Write a conversational cover letter for a job application as an [position] at [company] using the information below as a reference in 150 words or less." Then select "shift + enter" to start a new line and paste the job description and your resume.
Pro Tip: Want to save time while crafting unique cover letters for every job application? With Teal’s AI Resume Builder, you can generate personalized cover letters by merging your resume and any job description with the click of a button—all thanks to advanced AI technology.
Tailored resume examples
Now that you understand how to tailor your resume to a job let's take a look at some examples to help you get started!
Title: Customer Success Manager
Sample Job Description: We're seeking a highly motivated and experienced Customer Success Manager to join our team.
The ideal candidate will be responsible for spearheading customer success and retention initiatives, improving customer onboarding success rates, increasing customer satisfaction scores, and decreasing customer churn rates. The successful candidate will have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, the ability to analyze customer data and insights, and the capability to develop tailored customer training and education programs.
Tailored Title and Professional Summary:
Target Title: Customer Success Manager
Professional Summary: Industry-experienced Customer Success Manager with over four years of experience spearheading customer success and retention initiatives. Demonstrated history of increasing customer onboarding success rate by 15%, customer satisfaction scores to an all-time high of 93%, and decreasing customer churn rates by 20%. Responsible for identifying customer training needs and improving product utilization, resulting in a 12% increased customer adoption rate.
Why this works: In this example, the professional summary and target title align with specific accomplishments highlighted in the job summary, like increasing customer onboarding success rate, improving customer adoption and satisfaction, and decreasing customer churn rates.
Title: Entry-Level Backend Developer
List of key responsibilities from the job description:
- Develop database schema and objects to optimize data retrieval and searching time
- Write technical documentation of APIs and procedures
- Create unit tests to identify and prevent bugs from entering the production environment
- Implement security and data protection solutions to ensure access control of personal data
- Collaborate with interdisciplinary teams on sprints to develop new features
- Troubleshoot and debug production issues
- Implement RESTful APIs for third-party integrations
Tailored Work Experience:
Junior Backend Developer | CodeCrafters | 09/2022 – Present
- Developed a database schema and objects that resulted in a 25-35% decrease in data retrieval time.
- Implemented security and data protection solutions to ensure access control of users' personal data.
- Successfully established a web services and microservices architecture using REST APIs for third-party integrations.
Backend Developer Intern | 04/2022 – 07/2022 | Byte Builders
- Extensive knowledge of relational database systems in developing effective MySQL database schemas
- Wrote technical documentation of APIs and procedures to simplify support processes, decreasing the number of support tickets by 9%.
- Created unit tests to identify and prevent bugs from entering the production environment
- Assessed existing systems by troubleshooting production issues and suggesting best practices to ensure quality
Why this works: In this example, the tailored work experience corresponds well with the job responsibilities for the role of junior backend engineer by incorporating keywords like technical documentation, database schema and objects, and unit tests.
The resume job description also points to any relevant metrics while using some of those specific keywords to demonstrate impact in those areas. (This work experience is a great example of how to create a resume with little to no job experience.)
Title: Digital Marketing Specialist
Job description summary:
We are seeking a Digital Marketing Specialist with a Bachelor's Degree or higher to join our awesome team! This person should have strong communication skills and a proven track record of leading campaigns and implementing effective strategies while successfully communicating impact in a testing and learning environment. The ideal candidate has experience in SEO and SMM and will be responsible for developing and executing digital marketing strategies across various platforms, including search engines, social media, email, and advertising. The candidate will collaborate with cross-functional teams to deliver on-time and on-budget projects and initiatives in a fast-paced environment.
List of key responsibilities from the job description:
- Lead the end-to-end execution of paid advertising campaigns to increase sign-ups and conversion rates
- Implement and manage online advertising campaigns in Google Ads to increase website traffic
- Develop and execute digital marketing strategies across various platforms, including email marketing using Marketo
- Collaborate with cross-functional teams to deliver on-time and on-budget projects and initiatives
- Analyze data in Amplitude and create reports and presentations on campaign performance
- Conduct A/B testing and multivariate testing to optimize campaigns
- Stay up-to-date with industry trends and best practices
Bachelor of Science in Marketing | 2015-2019 |Columbia University | New York, NY
Tailored Skills and Competencies:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Search engine marketing (SEM)
- Social media marketing (SMM)
- Content creation and marketing
- Email marketing and automation
- Paid media strategy and implementation
- Data analysis and report creation
- A/B Testing & Multivariate Testing
- Digital Advertising
- Public speaking and presentation
- Cross-functional collaboration
- Google Ads
Why this works: In this example, the candidate's education, as well as their skills and competencies, align with the job description in an easy-to-read, bulleted format. Including both hard and transferable skills with specific keywords from the listing gives the hiring manager a holistic view of the candidate's strengths while using exact same language as the job description.
And if you want to see more examples, check out some of the most impressive resume examples of 2023!
What's the best way to tailor your resume
The best way to tailor your resume to a job description is by using Teal's free AI Resume Builder. With Teal's AI Resume Builder, you can create quality, tailored resumes that will grab the attention of any recruiter. Watch the video below to learn how.
Create your tailored resume today with Teal
Especially in today's job market, creating a resume that's tailored to the job description is vital to standing out and landing an interview.
But here's the good news: This process doesn't have to be time-consuming.
With Teal, you're equipped with a tool that simplifies and accelerates this process—and the rest of your job search.
Sign up to become a Teal member today, and take the first step toward your dream job!
What is tailoring a resume?
Tailoring a resume is the process of customizing and adapting a resume to a specific job description. It involves carefully reviewing the job description and requirements, then modifying content like the target title, professional summary, and achievements to highlight relevant skills and experience using keywords and language that corresponds with the job description (JD).
Should you tailor your resume for each job?
Absolutely, you should tailor your resume for each job you apply to.
Customizing your resume for each position enables you to showcase the most relevant skills and experiences that align with the job description. This targeted approach can significantly increase your chances of landing an interview and, ultimately, landing that dream job.
What is generic vs. tailored resume?
The primary difference between a generic resume and a tailored resume is that a generic resume is a one-size-fits-all document you can use for any job application. In contrast, a tailored resume is specifically customized to match the job description and requirements and showcase your relevant skills and experiences.
The difference between a master resume and a tailored resume
A primary resume is a comprehensive document that includes all of your education, work experience, skills, and achievements. It contains a complete record of your professional history and serves as a reference for creating tailored resumes.
On the other hand, a tailored resume is a customized document designed to match a particular job's requirements. And it's created by selecting and highlighting the most relevant information from your primary resume and emphasizing the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the job.
Do employers prefer generic or tailored resumes?
Employers generally prefer tailored resumes over generic resumes. And they prefer them because a tailored resume demonstrates that you've taken the time to understand the company's needs and the job's specific requirements.
Tailoring your resume to the job shows that you have a genuine interest in the company and the position (and you have the skills and experience necessary to excel in the role).
Is tailoring your resume worth it?
In this job market, tailoring your resume is absolutely worth the effort.
Customizing your resume to match the specific requirements and language used in a job listing demonstrates your attention to detail and shows that you have a genuine interest in the role. This can increase your chances of standing out among other applicants and potentially landing an interview.
In addition to tailoring your resume, it's also far more critical to be focused throughout your job search. Instead of mass applying to multiple jobs, we suggest only applying to a few, being intentional about which ones those are, and taking time on your application for each one.
Once you get into a groove where you follow a process like this, you'll become much more efficient in your job hunt. And when you start to incorporate tools like Teal into your search, you'll never want to job search "the old way" again.