You’re online and just came across a job listing that feels like your dream job. You read through the job description and start getting excited, because this feels like something you could actually do. Now what?
Every job application presents its own challenges. The one constant for each opportunity is that you’ll need to provide a resume. Some job seekers use the same resume for every job application. Others spend hours tailoring a custom version of their resume to that specific role. At Teal, we believe you should think of your resume as a living, breathing document that can be customized for every application (with some exceptions).
The best resumes tell your career story but are also developed around the specific needs of the company and team that you are aiming to land a job with. As you consider whether to apply, you should be looking closely at the job description, the organization’s website, the latest news on the company, and whatever else will help inform your understanding of what they are looking for. Then, if it’s a fit, you can use that material and information to create a custom resume that is much more likely to be read and not thrown out by the organization’s recruiters.
Every situation is different. There are cases where making a new resume from scratch isn’t totally necessary. We’re going to walk you through the benefits of customizing your resume and then help you kick your job applications into gear with a guide on whether to customize, or not customize, as well as some customization tips.
While it may be time consuming, creating a new resume for the job you want gives you a massive leg up. Below are some of the top benefits of resume customization:
Organizations are hiring because they have specific problems they’re looking to solve. When you’re seeking a job, you want to position yourself as THE key solution to the organization’s problems. Be sure to not only read the job description carefully but also do additional research - read the company’s website, press, and other information sources so you get the fullest picture of its needs. Then frame all your experience, skills, and education as the solution for these pain points.
Recruiters can easily tell when you’ve carefully tweaked your resume to address the specific job versus when you’ve simply sent your default CV. Show to the organization that you’ve done your research and are serious about contributing.
Many employers use applicant tracking systems to help them screen candidate. The more keywords, language and phrases that correspond to the job description, the more likely a recruiter using an ATS will find your resume when they search their system. Make a list of words from the job description as well as the company’s marketing materials. Include these terms on your resume, multiple times if possible.
It isn’t necessarily the right move to spend an hour customizing your resume for every single application. When do you know whether it’s worth investing the time?
It can be a challenge when your resume is highlighting skills that aren’t relevant or easily applicable to the new role. This is where you need to sit down and do a careful review of your resume while also analyzing the skills and experience that are required for the prospective new role. Highlight the keywords and responsibilities that will translate well to the position you’re in. If you’re concerned about leaving out accomplishments, consider playing with the format. Maybe add a “qualifications” section somewhere that breaks down all the skills you’ve picked up over your career.
As discussed, it’s important to do your homework. Going through the process of tailoring your resume for a specific role will also help prepare you for interviews, should you get to that stage.
These jobs require similar knowledge, skills, and experience, so you don’t need to create a customized new CV for each one. Save yourself some time and use one general resume for these similar jobs. There may be instances where you want to make a few small edits, but it’s not worth starting from scratch for each one.
When you’re just getting started, it’s fine to have a single resume for all applications. For entry-level jobs, you’re not expected to have an illustrious history of accomplishments. Just make sure everything is correctly formatted and highlights the various aspects of your life that make you a strong candidate.
We've laid out a few tips to help you get started writing a targeted resume. There are endless other ways to create a unique, standout resume, but these tips are a great starting point.
Remember: A job description is the equivalent of a company's request for proposal—they're putting out a blanket call for submissions, and your resume is your pitch—your case for why you and your skillset are the solution to their problem. It's your job to connect the dots as to why you'd be a great
Whether you jot down thoughts in Teal using the notes tool, copy and paste the job description into a Google doc so you can highlight and add comments, or print out a copy of the JD so you can jot down notes in the margins, it's good practice to dissect the job description. Review the requirements, preferred qualifications, and responsibilities to make you understand what the company's looking for. It's ok to apply even if you don't meet 100% of the qualifications, but you want to have a good sense of what those expectations are heading in.
Look at the job description and focus on the key requirements, as well as the technical and non-technical skills that the position calls for. Those exact skills should be listed prominently on your resume, as well as the results you achieved using those specific skills. To see which keywords are most frequently used in the job listing, use our free job tracker.
It'll automatically highlight the hard and soft skills in a job description. The more times a skill is listed in the job posting, the more important it is for you to integrate into your resume.
Once you know what skills to incorporate in your resume, review other important keywords and phrases in the job description (if you're using Teal, look for the words surrounding the orange highlighted words) and use those to populate your resume. This may require you to eliminate some of the existing language you had. Remember, these keywords are going to catch the attention of the recruiter and/or hiring manager and set your resume apart.
If you’ve had a long career with a lot of experience, you may need to be selective with what you include. You want the hiring manager to look at your resume and come to the conclusion that your professional offering closely aligns with the organization’s needs. Extra information may end up distracting or diluting the skills and qualifications that are relevant to the job, even if they feel important to you.
After your resume’s title, include a concise professional summary that explains who you are professionally while also addressing the qualifications and responsibilities from the job description. If you want some guidance crafting this paragraph, you can use our free resume blurb builder tool. (There's a tab in the worksheet for a LinkedIn "About" summary as well—don't forget to update that!)
Customizing your resume can take a while. It may get discouraging or frustrating to be spending an hour on your resume when you have so many other tasks on your to-do list, but a little extra time can go a long way in getting your foot in the door for that dream job. It can take time, so be patient, and trust in who you are and what you have to offer.