How to Write a Targeted Resume

It's no secret that searching for a job can become a full-time job. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, finding a job can take an average of 22.5 weeks. 

However, in the present climate of intense competition and frequent layoffs, many individuals cannot afford to wait for an extended period to secure a job.

Because of this, it is so crucial for job seekers to take their search seriously and do everything they can to stand out and get hired for not just any role, but the right role. 

A targeted resume is a great place to start if you're ready to get specific with your job search in 2023. Below, we'll dive into what a targeted resume is, who should use it, how to create one, and even showcase templates and examples to help you in your process. 

Let's dive in!

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 are seeking. The idea behind a targeted resume is to show the employer that you have the specific skills and experience they are looking for, rather than just providing a general overview of your qualifications.

It is structured to ensure the reader's eyes are immediately drawn to the essential qualifications and experience for the specific position. 

Crafting a targeted resume requires an intricate understanding of industry-specific keywords, as well as an in-depth knowledge of how one's career history and transferable skills fit into a given role. It is important to customize and tailor your resume for each job you apply for, as it shows that you have taken the time to research the company.

If done correctly, it can be a powerful tool for landing interviews at top companies.

Who should use a targeted resume?

Anyone who is looking for a job can benefit from using a targeted resume. Whether you are a recent graduate, a seasoned professional, or someone making a career change, a targeted resume can help you showcase your skills, qualifications, and experience in the best possible light.

If you're an experienced professional with skills that could apply to multiple roles in various fields, it's an excellent option. A targeted resume is beneficial if you're a career pivoter that needs to showcase specific elements of your previous jobs or education.

If you have a specific job or industry in mind, a targeted resume can help you highlight your relevant skills and experience, and make a strong case for why you are the right fit for the job. Or, if you're applying for a dream job that has a large number of applicants and is highly competitive, a targeted resume can increase your chances of being seen. 

A target resume allows flexibility in your job search when you need it most. It is an effective tool for a variety of different job seekers looking to make a positive impression and increase their chances of landing the job they want.

Why do you need a targeted resume?

There are several reasons why you need a targeted resume:

  • Show relevance: A targeted resume allows you to highlight your relevant skills, qualifications, and experience that match the specific requirements of the job you are applying for. This helps the hiring manager understand how you are a good fit for the role and the organization.
  • Stand out from the crowd: In today's competitive job market, hiring managers receive a large number of generic resumes that do not show a specific interest or fit for the job. A targeted resume helps you stand out from the crowd by demonstrating your understanding of the role and your enthusiasm for the position.
  • Make a strong first impression: The first impression you make with your resume can be the determining factor in 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 that is 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 AI software like ChatGPT to tailor your resume.

Because most job seekers only create one resume and send it out to every potential employer, a more targeted approach 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 will gain confidence in your commitment level. Customizing the ideal targeted resume template is easy 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. 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 resumes received for a particular job posting. The ATS resume scanner then scans the resumes and ranks them based on how well they match the requirements of the job posting.

It's important for job seekers to write a targeted resume for the job ad they are applying for and ensure that their resumes are optimized for ATS. This means using important keywords from the job posting and avoiding certain formatting and design elements that could cause the resume to be misinterpreted or rejected by the applicant tracking system.

By targeting their resumes to the job and optimizing them for a free ATS resume scan, job seekers can improve their chances of getting their tailored resume seen by a human recruiter and increase their chances of getting hired.

Targeted resume template

Later in this article, we'll go through all the appropriate steps that we suggest you take when creating a targeted resume. However, if you'd like to make a custom resume in minutes with the help of custom templates, we highly recommend signing up for Teal's Free Resume Builder.

Teal can help you create a resume from scratch and can help you individually create targeted resumes for each job you save and apply to within the tool. Click on 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, let's dive in and learn how to create one.

1.) Identify the types of jobs you want to apply to

This is a discovery process! Below, we'll outline all the questions you should be asking yourself when you first start your job search. Think of all the jobs you've done 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 skills did you develop in your previous roles that you would like to utilize 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 in your next job?
  • 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 LinkedIn Job Search, Indeed, or another job board to analyze the standard job description carefully of the target job title you plan to apply to. 

Note the expected skills, responsibilities, and qualifications that job descriptions repeatedly mention. Add these common keywords into separate documents for each job to save for future reference. 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. 

3.) Customize specific areas of your existing resume

When creating 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 professional 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:

  • Objective Statement or Resume Summary: Your objective or summary statement is the top part 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 is 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 are 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.
  • 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: Incorporate keywords from the job description into your resume, such as 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 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.

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Targeted resume examples

Below you'll see two samples from Teal's new collection of resume examples. These are targeting unique job types and are both somewhat similar, but in the profile/summary section, skills section, and resume achievements sections, you'll notice that different experiences are showcased.

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

How to write a targeted resume fast 

Hiring a certified professional resume writer or a resume expert is not 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 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 resume builder also has features like career insights and an Achievement Assistant to strengthen your resume. With Teal, you don't need just to have 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!

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Alli Tunell

Alli Tunell

Alli is a tech marketing strategist with 10+ years of experience. She's previously worked with brands like Animalz, Oskar Blues Brewery, BombBomb,, and Zendesk. Alli is currently a Content Marketing Consultant and a mom to an energetic Toddler.

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