While it’s easier to send off the same resume for each job application, tailoring your resume can boost you chances of success.

Even if you’re applying for similar roles, hiring managers could be looking for different skills and experience. When you tailor your resume to suit each job, it’s much easier for the hiring manager to see you’re right for the role.

Don’t have a resume yet or want to brush up on your skills? Read how to write a resume to get started.

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an image looking down at sneakers at a yellow starting line on the road. The word on the yellow line reads START

Step 1 – Create a master copy of your resume

It’s a good idea to have a master copy of your resume that you work from for each new job application. It’s best if this master copy is more general and not tailored to a particular role.

When you’ve got your master copy, follow these steps to customise your resume for each job application.

Step 2 – Work out what is most important for the organisation

Read through the job description and highlight key skills, qualifications, or experience. Think about the following questions.

  • Does the job description highlight a specific skill that’s important for the role?
  • Do they want you to have a particular qualification?
  • Is there a theme that you can see throughout the description? For example, do they keep asking for leadership skills or attention to detail?

Some job descriptions make it easy and will list essential criteria. You can be sure that those skills and experience are what they think is most important to the job and are what they are measuring applications against.

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Image of a document with a pen lying on top. The text on the document read ' Job description'

Step 3 – Highlight your skills on the top third of the resume

Now that you have the list, it’s time to make sure you cover it in your resume.

It’s best to put them on the top third of the first page of your resume. This way, they will be one of the first things the hiring manager sees. Read how to structure your resume for more tips.

Step 4 – Use the same language as the job description

Observe the language the hiring manager is using. If they’re asking for ‘time management skills’, it’s best to use that exact phrase rather than using a similar term like ‘organised’. This way the hiring manager will be able to quickly see that you’re a good choice for the role. Read more about using the right keywords to unlock a job.

Step 5 – Add your location

It can be a good idea to include the area that you live in on your resume. Never include your actual street address, but just the city or town.

If you’re applying for jobs in another location, make it clear on your resume that you’re planning to move. This way the hiring manager will know you’re committed to a job in the new location.

Step 6 – Check your resume

Last things last, double-check your spelling and grammar. Ask a family member or friend to read through your resume too. They might pick up a mistake you’ve missed. Another simple trick is to read your resume out loud. You will pick up things that your mind will skip over when you are reading it in your head.

More resources

Should I lie on my resume?

How far back should you go on your resume?

Should I put a photo on my resume?

Images: iStock

Author: Mowena @ jobactive