How to Write a Targeted Resume in 2024 to Boost Your Job Search
It's no secret that searching for a job can become a full-time job.
However, in the present climate of fierce competition, many people can't afford to wait for an extended period to land a job.
Because of this, job seekers like you have to do everything they can to stand out and get hired for not just any role but the right one.
The best way to start? With a targeted resume if you're ready to get specific with your job search in 2024.
3 key takeaways
- What a targeted resume is
- How to create a targeted resume
- Using the Teal AI Resume Builder to write a targeted resume
What is a targeted resume?
A targeted resume is a carefully crafted document designed to showcase your skills and experience directly related to the particular job you're seeking.
The idea behind one is to show the employer you have the specific skills and experience outlined in the job description rather than just providing a general overview of your qualifications.
A targeted resume is structured to ensure it draws the reader's eyes to the essential qualifications and experience for the specific position immediately. And while it requires an intricate understanding of industry-specific keywords and your own qualifications, it's vital to take the time to customize and tailor your resume for each job you apply for. This shows that you have a vested interest in and the right qualifications for the role you're applying to.
If done correctly? A targeted resume can be a powerful tool for landing interviews at top companies.
Who should use a targeted resume?
Anyone looking for a job can benefit from a targeted resume.
- With limited work experience, a targeted resume allows recent graduates to demonstrate potential and adaptability as entry-level candidates—emphasizing their relevant coursework, internships, and extracurricular activities directly related to the role they're applying for.
- With an 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 experience, impact, and industry-specific accomplishments.
- For professionals making a career change, a targeted resume highlights how their existing skills and knowledge can be applied effectively to a new field or industry—showcasing adaptability and commitment to learning,
Dream job applicants
- When applying for a dream job where competition is fierce, a targeted resume is essential to make a lasting impression by precisely matching skills and experiences with the role's qualifications and expectations—demonstrating passion and dedication and increasing chances of standing out.
Why do you need a targeted resume?
There are several reasons you need a targeted resume:
- Show relevance: A targeted resume allows you to highlight your relevant skills, qualifications, and experience that align with specific job requirements.
- Your resume should showcase the top 10% of your skills and experience that is 100% relevant to the role you're applying to.
- Stand out from the crowd: In today's job market, hiring managers receive many generic resumes that don't show a specific interest or fit for the job.
- A targeted approach helps you figure out how to make your resume stand out by demonstrating your understanding of the role and enthusiasm for the position.
- Make a strong first impression: The first impression you make with your resume can determine whether you get an interview.
- A targeted resume can help you make a strong first impression by showcasing your relevant skills and experience in a way specific to the job you are applying for.
- Save time: Creating a targeted resume takes time, but it can save you time in the long run.
- By tailoring your resume for each job you apply for, you avoid having to rewrite your resume for each application. (You can also save time by using tools like ChatGPT for your resume.)
Because many job seekers create one resume and send it out to every potential employer, a target resume can be a differentiator.
Not only that but when employers see that you took the time to tailor your resume to meet their needs, they gain confidence in your commitment level. Customizing the ideal targeted resume template is easy with the right tools and can significantly increase your chances of success.
Targeted resumes and applicant tracking systems
Applicant tracking systems (ATS) are software systems used by organizations to manage their recruitment process. They aren't just a resume keyword scanner but a digital filing system.
When an applicant submits their resume for a job, the resume goes into the ATS, which is used to store and organize all of the applications received for a particular job posting.
Once the hiring manager, recruiter, or prospective employer is ready to sift through the applicant pool, they can search the ATS for specific keywords. The ATS then pulls the applications with resumes that match those specific terms.
It's important for job seekers to write a targeted resume aligned with the job ad of the role they're applying for—ensuring it's a compatible ATS resume. This means using important keywords from the job posting and avoiding certain formatting and design elements that could cause problems with the initial resume scan.
By targeting their resumes to the job and optimizing them, job seekers can improve their chances of getting their tailored resume seen by a human recruiter and increase their chances of getting hired.
Pro Tip: There are online programs available that offer a free ATS resume scan; those really only show whether or not your resume scans into the system correctly. The real test is how your resume is found by a human recruiter when they search for specific keywords.
Targeted resume template
Later in this article, you'll find the steps that take when creating a targeted resume. However, if you'd like to make a custom resume in minutes with the help of custom templates, sign up for Teal's free AI Resume Builder.
Teal can help you create targeted resumes from scratch for each job you save within the tool. Click the button below to get started today!
How to create a targeted resume
Now that you know what a targeted resume is, why it's essential, and who should use one, here's how to create one.
1.) Identify the types of jobs you want to apply for
This is a discovery process! Below are all the questions you should be asking yourself when you first start your job search. Think of all the jobs you've had in the past and write down your thoughts.
Questions you should ask include...
- Were there some roles you liked more than others?
- What did you like the most about each of them?
- What were your day-to-day activities for each role?
- What types of roles align with your experience?
- What roles have you yet to have but feel confident you can do well?
- What industries have you worked in?
- What industries did you like the most?
- What industries have you never worked in but have always wanted to try?
- What did you find challenging in your previous roles, and what would you like to avoid in your next job?
- What resume hard skills and transferable skills did you develop in your previous roles that you'd like to use again?
- What new skills or experiences would you like to gain in your next role?
- What was the company culture like in your previous job, and what type of work environment do you thrive in?
- What type of work-life balance are you looking for?
- What was the commute like in your previous jobs, and how far are you willing to commute for your next job?
- Were you satisfied with the compensation and benefits in your previous roles?
- What kind of growth opportunities were available in your previous roles, and what type of advancement opportunities are you looking for in your next job?
- Do you have any passions outside of work that you could explore professionally?
After reviewing the answers to these questions, identify two or three roles in the most exciting industries that relate to your answers above that you'd like to apply to.
2.) Study the common job descriptions for each role
Now that you've identified your target roles, it's time to do some research!
Use these job boards to analyze the standard description of the target job title you plan to apply for.
Note the expected skills, responsibilities, and qualifications that job descriptions repeatedly mention. Once you've looked at 10-20 job descriptions for each role and collected all the consistent resume keywords, you can start to customize your resumes.
Pro Tip: The Teal AI Resume Builder and Job Application Tracker pull the top five keywords from any job description—saving you time and effort. Teal+ members have access to unlimited keywords (as hard skills, soft skills, and other important language) for every job description.
3.) Customize specific areas of your existing resume
When writing a targeted resume, you should customize several key resume sections to ensure that it effectively showcases your qualifications and experience for the specific job you are applying for.
If you already have a generic resume created, you can take your original document and use it as a starting point. Or, build off any one of these 1200+ resume examples to get up and running even quicker.
From there, you can copy that original resume document and create targeted resume sample versions that you will tweak and use interchangeably based on the roles you apply to.
Here are some areas to focus on:
- Target title: Your target title should align with the position description of the role you're applying to as long as there is some overlap in your skills and qualifications if you haven't held that same job title previously.
- Professional resume summary: Your resume summary statement or short professional bio is at the top of your resume and should be tailored to the specific job opening you are applying for. Since the top half of your resume is the part recruiters and hiring managers see first, it's crucial to make a good first impression and should highlight your relevant skills and experience.
- Skills: Make sure to highlight the skills that are specifically required for the job you're applying for. This could include technical skills, soft skills, or industry-specific skills.
- Work experience: Customize the description of your work experience to match the responsibilities and requirements of the job you are applying for. Highlight any relevant projects, metric-driven achievements, or accomplishments that demonstrate your fit for the role. (And don't forget to include impact for maximum results!)
- Education: If you have a relevant degree or certifications, be sure to mention them and emphasize how they relate to the job you are applying for.
- Keywords: Incorporating keywords from the job description into your resume, like specific software or programming languages, to increase your resume's relevance and make it easier for the hiring manager to identify your fit for the role.
- Formatting: Use a professional and clean format for your resume to draw attention to the areas where you highlight the most relevant information for the job you are applying for.
The tweaks don't have to be massive but should be enough to help you show that you're an expert in a specific area. This can help you stand out from other candidates and increase your chances of landing an interview.
Targeted resume examples
Below you'll see two targeted resume samples. These focus on unique job types. Both are somewhat similar, but you'll notice that different experiences are showcased to align with the targeted role.
The first example is a targeted resume for a product marketing manager role.
The second example is a targeted resume for a content marketing role.
(For more samples of targeted resumes, check out these marketing manager resume examples.)
How to write a targeted resume fast with Teal
Hiring a certified professional resume writer or a resume expert isn't the only way to ensure your resume is specific and targeted.
Spending time creating multiple target resumes seems daunting, but as technology has evolved, more platforms have popped up to streamline the process. Teal's AI Resume Builder is one of the best tools that can assist you with building a top-notch resume.
With Teal, you can store your entire career history in one place, making it easy to build a targeted resume. The AI Resume Builder also has features like career insights and an Achievement Assistant to strengthen your content. With Teal, you don't need to have just 2-3 targeted resumes. Instead, you can have a tailored resume for every job you apply to.
Sign up for a free account today to see the tool in action!