How to Tailor Your Resume to Your Dream Job

The phrase “one and done” can apply to many situations, but writing your resume should not be one of them. 

A “generic resume” or “one perfect resume” will not cut it anymore. Considering the technology available and what people are looking for, in conjunction with the number of people applying to companies, you need to showcase that you are unique to stand out. 

Below, we’ll talk about what tailored resumes are, why they are important, how to easily create them, and why they’re essential for your job search!

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. The goal of a tailored resume is 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 is it important to tailor your resume? 

Crafting a unique and tailored resume is crucial because it significantly increases your chances of receiving an interview invite. According to Zippia, the average corporate job receives around 250 applications. With so many applicants to compete with, you must take all the steps you can to stand out, and tailoring your resume is a great way to increase your chances of getting noticed. 

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.

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.

Finally, many employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to expedite their application review process and find the right resume. The ATS helps eliminate underqualified candidates and people whose skills don't match the requirements based on specific keywords used within their resume. This is why it’s imperative to tailor your resume and ensure the right keywords are in place. 

How to tailor your resume

This type of resume is created by highlighting and emphasizing the hard and soft skills, professional experience, and key qualifications that are most relevant to the position being applied for, and is often written to directly address the job requirements and responsibilities listed in the job description.

Whether you're a recent graduate or making a career change, creating a resume that stands out in today’s competitive job market is no small feat. With the right approach, however, you can tailor your resume to present your relevant experience professionally.

From selecting the right keywords to adding a personal touch, there are numerous tips and tricks that can help you create a resume that will attract potential employers. Below, we’ll dive into each area you should focus on when starting your resume customization processes.

While these tips are valuable and significant to review, to create optimal results, we'd also like to let you know that Teal offers a free Resume Builder to help you customize your resume in minutes without any manual work. We’ll talk more about it below.

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‍1.) Use the job description

The job description will always outline what a company and hiring manager is looking for. Carefully read the JD and take note of the required skills, qualifications, and responsibilities. You must study and understand job descriptions to see if it seems like the right fit for you and to help identify the best way to customize your resume to fit its needs. 

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 

Paste this job description into the word editing software of your choice. From there, you will start dissecting it and looking at the different sections. Highlight the keywords that seem the most important. 

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, and it’s not as expected in the application process, which can help you stand out. 

Look at the company's website, and check out its social channels to learn more. We suggest zooming in on their core values if they have them publicly available and searching for a video about the company and its product.

One final pro move is to 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. 

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 we mentioned earlier.

3.) Dedicate time to the top half of your resume

The top half of your resume is considered to be the most important because it is the first section that recruiters and hiring managers will see. It is crucial to make a good first impression in order to capture their attention and 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 will increase the chances of getting an interview and being considered for the job.

Customize your professional summary

Now that you’ve saved all the important researched information you need, you can customize your professional summary. The professional summary section 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 specific job you are applying for.

Copy/paste some primary key responsibilities into this section and lay them out similarly to how it was in the job description. This personalized approach showcases your ability to meet the requirements of the job 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.

4.) Customize your work experiences with professional achievements

When you have several years of job employment history behind you, you should have at least a handful of key accomplishments that you can add to your resume. These will look different depending on the industry you work in, if you've had multiple positions at the same company, and the seniority you've had.

Customizing your work experiences on your resume is important because it helps you to highlight the achievements and important skills that are most relevant to the job you are applying for. This process of tailoring your resume for each job application enables you to demonstrate how your previous experiences and accomplishments can be applied to meet the specific requirements of the position.

By highlighting your work history, you increase the chances of your resume being noticed by the hiring manager and also show that you are a good fit for the job. Additionally, it helps to make your resume stand out among the many other applicants, which can give you a competitive advantage.

Want to see what this looks like in action? Here are some of the most impressive resume examples that we've seen in 2023.

How many professional achievements to include

Quantifying your achievements and relevant accomplishments is a way to showcase your dedication and success in past employment or educational endeavors. This provides evidence that your experiences have equipped you to excel in the position you are now seeking.

For each job you include on your resume, we recommend three to five bullet point achievements. Keep your most important ones, but include a few that you might not have added initially and make sense here. 

5.) Incorporate relevant keywords

It is important to incorporate keywords when tailoring your resume to the job description because it helps ensure that your resume will be easily discoverable by potential employers and applicant tracking systems (ATS). By including relevant keywords and the same 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 that match the requirements of the job, making your application stand out and demonstrating that you are a strong fit for the role. This helps demonstrate your understanding of the job responsibilities and your ability to perform the required tasks.

It also shows that you have 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.

6.) 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 your resume is important because it helps 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.

Additionally, proofreading and editing can help you to 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 tailored resume several times to make any necessary edits to ensure that it presents you in the best possible light.

7.) Compliment your resume with a custom cover letter

Finally, to seal the deal, we highly suggest using 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. All you need to do is sign up for an OpenAI account and write 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 you’d select “shift + enter” to start a new line and paste both the job description and your resume. 

To learn more, check out our article, “How to Use ChatGPT to Write a Cover Letter.”

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Is tailoring your resume worth it? 

In this competitive job market, tailoring your resume can absolutely be 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.

At Teal, we believe it’s 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. 

What is the best way to tailor a resume? 

The best way to tailor your resume to a job description is by using Teal’s free Resume Builder. With Teal’s Resume Builder, you can create quality, tailored resumes that will grab the attention of any recruiter.

Teal's Resume Builder instantly finds and suggests resume keywords for you.
Teal's Resume Builder instantly finds and suggests resume keywords for you.

Teal's Job Tracker & Resume Builder work together to help extract the top keywords from a job you’ve saved so that you can quickly customize your resume and let a company know exactly why you are applying for a specific position.

All you have to do is bookmark a job with Teal's Job Tracker Chrome Extension, and you'll see the important keywords and skills highlighted automatically. Quickly review the most common keywords and make sure to tailor your application answers accordingly. It’s easy, effective, and free! Visit the Teal website to sign up today for career advice and tools to grow your career.

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Alli Tunell

Alli Tunell

Alli is a tech marketing strategist with 10+ years of experience. Currently, Alli works as a Senior Growth Marketing Manager at Teal. After dealing with far too many frustrating job searches herself, she has found so much joy in helping other job applicants win in a challenging market.

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