How to Write a Targeted Resume: Examples + Tips

Calendar Icon
May 8, 2024
Edited by
Kayte Grady
Clock Icon
min read

3 key takeaways:

  • A targeted resume highlights relevant skills and qualifications that align with a particular job.
  • There are several specific steps you should follow when writing a targeted resume to get it right.
  • Teal's Resume Builder can help you write targeted resumes for every application—faster.

A targeted resume shows how your skills and experiences match the needs of a specific job. And getting it right can significantly increase your chances of landing an interview.

Below, you'll learn how to write a targeted resume by identifying the most relevant details, aligning your experience with key job requirements, and optimizing your presentation to confidently present yourself as the most qualified candidate.

Struggling to create a targeted resume quickly and with confidence? Sign up for Teal's Resume Builder for the tools and guidance to simplify crafting a standout tailored resume.

What is a targeted resume?

A targeted resume is a customized version of your resume that highlights your skills and experiences that align with the requirements of a specific job description.

The idea is to show a recruiter or hiring manager you have the qualifications they're looking for rather than just providing a general overview of your career. A targeted resume shows how your background makes you an ideal fit by selectively emphasizing relevant qualifications and de-emphasizing less pertinent details.

Who should use a targeted resume?

A targeted resume is important for any job seeker looking to stand out as qualified. 

Whether you're applying for your first job or aiming for a higher position in your field, tailoring your resume every time you hit apply ensures your most relevant skills and experiences are what hiring managers see.

Below is a non-exhaustive list of some job seekers who can benefit from a targeted resume:

Recent graduates

With limited work experience, a targeted resume allows recent graduates to show potential and adaptability as entry-level candidates. It emphasizes relevant coursework, internships, and projects directly related to the role they're applying for.

Seasoned professionals

With a more extensive work history and expertise, a targeted resume allows experienced professionals to tailor their qualifications and achievements to align with specific job requirements—showcasing years of relevant experience, impact, and industry-specific accomplishments.

Career pivoters

For professionals making a career change, a targeted resume highlights how existing skills and knowledge can be applied to a new field or industry—showcasing adaptability and commitment to learning.

Dream job applicants

A targeted resume makes a lasting impression when applying for a dream job. It precisely matches skills and experiences with the role's qualifications and expectations, demonstrating passion and dedication and increasing the chances of standing out.

Why do you need a targeted resume?

You need a targeted resume because it speaks directly to an employer's specific needs and expectations rather than offering a generic, general summary of your career.

Think about it this way: an employer has a problem, a gap in their team—a role that requires specific skills and expertise. You have the skills needed to fill this gap. But unless your resume clearly positions you as the solution to their problem, the employer might not realize you're the right fit.

Targeted resumes also make it easier for recruiters to find you in applicant tracking systems (ATS) when they search these digital filing systems for specific criteria. Strategic alignment not only boosts your chances of being found but also highlights your experience as relevant and compelling for human hiring professionals.

Advantages of target resumes

Highlights your experience relevant to the role

A targeted resume emphasizes your strengths as experiences that directly align with a specific job posting. This makes it clear to hiring managers why you're a perfect fit.

Helps you stand out

A targeted resume helps you stand out by incorporating keywords and phrases from the job description.

This does two things:

  1. Improves your visibility in applicant tracking systems (ATS) when hiring professionals search for specific criteria. 
  2. Increases the likelihood of being invited for an interview over other candidates because your resume clearly illustrates relevant skills and experiences and showcases your understanding of the role.

Makes a strong first impression

A targeted resume streamlines your professional details, focusing only on relevant information.

By eliminating non-essential elements, your resume will be cleaner and easier to read, improving its digestibility and making a strong first impression.

This approach also allows you to craft a compelling story about your career journey that's directly tailored to the job ad—enabling hiring managers to quickly understand the logical progression of your career and how uniquely qualified you are for the position.

Saves Time

While creating a targeted resume requires time to understand and align your experience with each job's requirements, this upfront effort pays off by speeding up subsequent applications.

Once you have a strong base resume, you can quickly make minor adjustments to tailor it to different roles. This focused approach allows you to apply at scale, knowing that each resume you send is optimized for success. 

By increasing your chances of getting noticed by hiring managers quickly, a targeted resume also potentially reduces the length of your job search—ultimately saving you even more time in the long run.

Create a targeted resume with Teal

Want to create targeted resumes for every application in less time with more confidence you're getting it right?

Teal's Resume Job Description Match compares your resume to any job description and gives you a score that tells you how closely your experience aligns with that job—think of it like a resume keyword scanner.

Need to improve your score? Teal's Job Description Keyword Finder will help you cut through the noise and identify the skills and language that matter most so you can add more of the right details to increase your alignment!

Should you target your resume for each job application?

Yes, you should target your resume for each application. Why? Well, just like no two jobs are the exact same (even if they have the same job title), no two resumes should be the same either.

Tailoring your resume for each application shows potential employers that you've carefully considered how your skills and experiences align with the specific requirements of their job.

This personalized approach not only helps your resume get found in the ATS with the right keywords but also ensures you stand out from those using generic resumes. By customizing your content, you demonstrate attention to detail and a genuine interest in the role.

The advantage of a targeted resume in applicant tracking systems

Many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) as digital filing systems to organize large volumes of job applications.

These systems can be searched for specific keywords and phrases that align with the job descriptions, helping human hiring professionals narrow the pool of applicants based on specific criteria.

Here are three ways a targeted resume gives you an advantage with ATS:

  1. Keyword optimization: By strategically including keywords from the job listing, your resume is more likely to be found during searches conducted by hiring professionals.
  2. Improved scan-ability: ATS requires resumes to be formatted in ways that are easy to scan and parse. A targeted resume that is cleanly formatted without any unnecessary details.
  3. Better searchability and relevance: A resume that mirrors the language and priorities of the job description not only aligns better with potential ATS searches but also signals to human hiring managers that your professional experience is directly applicable to the role.

How to write a targeted resume

Now that you know what a targeted resume is, why it's important, and who should use one, here's how to create one.

1.) Identify the type of job you're applying for

Start by determining the specific job type you are interested in. But don't just identify a target job title. Look at industry trends that align with your skills and career goals. Understanding the broader category of the job will help you narrow down specific opportunities and tailor your resume to fit the general expectations of such roles.

2.) Review the job description carefully

Once you have a specific job posting in mind, take the time to review the job description thoroughly.

Pay close attention to the hard and soft skills, qualifications, and experiences listed as requirements or preferences.

Highlight keywords and phrases that are repeatedly mentioned or seem to carry particular importance. These are likely the terms hiring managers will search for in the ATS.

Pro Tip: The Teal Resume Builder and Job Application Tracker pull the top five keywords from any job description—saving you time and effort. Teal+ members have unlimited keywords for every job description, so you're never left guessing what language you should include for a specific position.

3.) Align each resume section with the job description

Creating a resume that aligns precisely with a job description means each part of your resume speaks directly to the needs of the employer.

Here's how to write a target resume section by section:

Match your target title

Your resume title (or headline) should match the job description as closely as possible, as long as it accurately reflects your experience. This alignment helps position you as a direct fit for the role from the onset.

Tweak your professional summary

Your professional summary is your highlight reel. Use it to focus on your most notable achievements.

In your summary, include 1-3 of the top skills listed in the job description and demonstrate their impact with specific metrics. This not only shows your qualifications but also your proven success in relevant areas.

Focus on achievements aligning with the job description

Your resume bullet points should always be relevant to the role you're applying for.

For example, if you're applying for an engineering position, emphasize engineering achievements with quantifiable results to showcase your impact rather than your college internship in a data science role.  

Include relevant education and certifications

List only the educational qualifications and certifications that are pertinent to the job. For instance, if a certification in a specific software is listed in the role you are applying for, include it; otherwise, omit non-relevant certifications.

Add pertinent projects or volunteer experience

Incorporate any projects or volunteer experiences that demonstrate skills and knowledge applicable to the job. This additional information can provide a fuller picture of your capabilities and commitment.

Incorporate relevant keywords

Use targeted keywords throughout your resume—within the summary, achievements, skills section, education, and projects. This strategic inclusion ensures your resume is optimized for both ATS searches and human reviewers.

For example, let's say a specific job opening focuses on SEO copywriting and specific technical skills like AHREFS, Google Analytics, and Amplitude. If you have this experience, take just a few minutes to add it to your resume sections by:

  • Incorporating each skill or tool once
  • Detailing the results you achieved with each

This strategy helps your resume align with the position description and highlights your proficiency with the tangible outcomes of your work.

Proofread for alignment

Finally, proofread your resume meticulously to ensure it is not only free of errors but also perfectly aligned with the job requirements. Use a resume scoring tool (like Teal's Job Description Match). This attention to detail can make a significant difference in how your application is perceived.

Targeted resume examples

Below, you'll see two targeted resume examples. These focus on unique job types and showcase a variety of experiences aligned with the targeted role.

Targeted resume sample - graphic design

A targeted resume sample

Why this resume is well-targeted

This resume is well-targeted for a graphic design position at a company that values innovation in digital design. Luca's target title aligns with the role he's applying for. His focus on leadership in website redesign highlights his ability to deliver impactful results, increasing web traffic and sales. Luca's expertise with design tools like Figma and Adobe also aligns seamlessly with the technical skills required for a mid-level role within a technology-driven brand, making him a strong candidate.

Targeted resume sample - frontend developer

A sample targeted resume

Why this resume is well-targeted

Olivia's resume is a great targeted resume example for a frontend developer position at a progressive tech company looking for a candidate with 2+ years of experience. Her detailed work experience, highlighting specific achievements like reducing page load speeds by 20% and increasing user experience scores, directly aligns with job requirements that prioritize efficiency and user satisfaction. Olivia's academic credentials from the Harvard Institute of Technology in Computer Science are prominently featured, aligning with the required educational qualifications listed in the job description.

For more examples of targeted resumes, check out this comprehensive list of resume examples to use for inspiration.

Targeted resume template

Here's a structured, targeted resume template that you can use, designed to be filled in with personal details, experience, and skills tailored to the job description (JD):

[Full Name]
[City, State]
[Email Address]
[Phone Number]
[LinkedIn Profile URL]

[Target Job Title You're Applying For]

Professional Summary:
As an experienced [Title] with [X] years in the [Industry or Specialty Field], I have [Skill 1 from the JD] to [Achieve Metric/Impact]. Additionally, I have used [Skill 2 from the JD] to [Achieve Metric/Impact] and have been recognized for my ability to [Skill 3 from the JD] which led to [Achieve Metric/Impact].

Work Experience:

[Job Title] [Company] [Month, Year] - [Month, Year]

  • Action verb [Relevant Accomplishment] that aligns with [Specific JD Requirement Skill and Impact]
  • Action verb [Relevant Accomplishment] demonstrating [Specific JD Requirement Skill and Impact]
  • Action verb [Relevant Accomplishment or Responsibility] showcasing [Specific JD Requirement Skill and Impact]

[Job Title] [Company] [Month, Year] - [Month, Year]

  • Action verb [Relevant Accomplishment or Responsibility] that aligns with [Specific JD Requirement Skill and Impact]
  • Action verb [Relevant Accomplishment or Responsibility] demonstrating [Specific JD Requirement Skill and Impact]
  • Action verb [Relevant Accomplishment or Responsibility] showcasing [Specific JD Requirement Skill and Impact]


[Degree] in [Specialty]

[Institution Name]

[Graduation Month, Year]


[Specific JD Skill 1] [Specific JD Skill 2] [Specific JD Skill 3] [Specific JD Skill 4] [Specific JD Skill 5]

Additional Sections:
[Add any additional sections such as certifications, publications, or awards that are accurate and relevant to your background and the job description.]

How to write a targeted resume with Teal

Want to create targeted resumes for every application quickly? Teal can help you:

Save time: Quickly adapt your base resume for multiple applications.

Increase efficiency: Use tools like Match Scoring to ensure your resume aligns perfectly with the job requirements without manual research.

Boost confidence: With Teal's features and tools, you can be confident your resume showcases the right qualifications for every job. 

Here's how it works:

Step 1: Create a base resume

Think of your base resume as a database where you store all of your experience and skills. But because not everything you've ever done will be relevant to a job, with Teal, simply click the box next to the qualifications that align with a specific job description. Create and save as many targeted versions of a resume as you need to.

This will help you create a tailored resume faster than starting from scratch. And you won't need to delete important details that might be relevant to another role.

Creating a targeted resume with relevant acheievements in Teal
Create and save as many targeted resumes by pulling from a comprehensive base resume.

Step 2: Match your resume with a job description

Teal's Match Score tool compares your resume against any job description, providing a score that indicates how well your experiences align with the job requirements. 

Comparing a targeted resume to a job description
Compare your resume against any job description to see how well your skills align.

Step 3: Add the right language

Teal's Keyword Finder identifies the most important skills and language in any job description you should sprinkle throughout your resume. This allows you to easily adjust your resume by adding the right details to boost alignment (which will directly reflect in your Match Score as you work.) 

Writing a targeted resume using job description keywords
Add the right language from the job description to increase your resume's relevance to a job.

With Teal, you can be sure each version of your targeted resume is optimized for success, making your job application process smoother and more effective.

Frequently Asked Questions

What specific elements should I include in a targeted resume to make it stand out to employers?

A targeted resume should include a clear objective or summary that aligns with the job you're applying for, keywords from the job description, relevant work experience with quantifiable achievements, and any specific skills or certifications that match the employer's requirements. Tailor each section to demonstrate how your background makes you the ideal candidate for the position.

How often should I update or revise my targeted resume?

You should update or revise your targeted resume for each job application to ensure it's customized to the job description and company culture. Additionally, keep your resume current by periodically adding new skills, experiences, and accomplishments, even when you're not actively job searching, so it's ready to be tailored quickly.

Can I use a targeted resume for online job applications that use automated resume screening systems?

Yes, a targeted resume is particularly effective for online applications with automated screening systems. Ensure you incorporate relevant keywords and phrases from the job description, as these systems often scan for these to determine if your resume is a match. However, balance keyword usage with natural language to ensure your resume also appeals to human recruiters who will read it later in the application process.

Kayte Grady

Kayte, Senior Copywriter at Teal and Champion of ADHD professionals, is a seasoned writer passionate about storytelling and career growth. With a data-driven approach to content marketing and a word-nerd knack for resume builder analysis, Kayte’s on a mission to empower job seekers to land a job they love. Constantly pivoting and reinventing herself, this social-worker-turned-marketer found growth and camaraderie in tech—a genuine surprise given her never-ending devotion to the paper calendar.

We help you find
the career dream.