Tailoring Your Resume for the Job
If you’re looking for a career, you probably already know that your resume is your first impression. Do you know what makes the best impression, though? Already knowing the person’s name when you meet them. It’s the same with your resume. Hiring teams are looking for people who are looking for them, so it’s crucial to tailor your resume for one company and one position. If it sounds like it takes time, it does. But it’s worth it. Follow these steps, and your resume will be laser-focused toward getting the job of your dreams.
Study the job description like it’s a final exam.
Yes, this means with a pen and highlighter (or stylus and cursor). Mark the words the company uses to describe the job and then use those same phrases in your resume where they apply. You can even add the job title to your Career Objective section if you have one. Also, highlight words used to describe the hard and soft skills they recommend for the position.
Don’t bury the lede in your resume.
Alright, now that you’ve thoroughly studied the job description, you know what they’re looking for. Match those with the skills and responsibilities you’ve had in previous jobs. It’s essential, however, to always be honest about whether you genuinely hold the desired skills. Then move that stuff to the beginning of that section. You can even rearrange sections if you need to, get that crucial stuff first in line. This is called front-loading information, and it ensures that the hiring team will see those key skills first.
Actions speak louder than adjectives.
It’s important to remember the meaning behind the buzzwords you picked out from the job description. Don’t just describe yourself as “detail-oriented” like every other applicant. Give an example of how your eye for detail saved a project. Even better if you can tie a concrete number to your evidence. If your resume length runs over two pages, go ahead and highlight your examples in a cover letter.
Look over it again and again. And maybe one more time.
Before you call your resume done, give it a final look-over. First, do a pass for spelling and grammar. Then look at it next to the job description. If you were the hiring manager, would you think, “Yeah, this person’s a great fit!” or “Huh, wonder why they applied here?” Do one more round of tweaking to make it crystal clear why you’d be perfect for this new job. Then another pass for spelling and grammar, just in case. If you’ve used a template, make sure all the information has been changed to represent you best.
Sure, it’s tempting just to collect your career experience and skills into one document, slap contact information on there, and call it a day. But a recruiter or HR professional won’t look twice. Impress the person who’s going to be hiring you by creating a customized resume for their position.
As always, we are looking for motivated individuals with a passion to join our team! Please apply at www.caltech.com/careers.