How to Tailor Your Resume to a Job

How to Tailor Your Resume to a Job

The dream of every graduate or job seeker is to eventually be hired. Although the job market has become more competitive than before, every applicant remains confident about getting the job they applied for. Contrary to some opinions, several things determine whether you get the job or not. One of such things is the state of your resume. You may have an excellent cover letter, the best result, or an outstanding application letter; however, it is the resume that determines if you get an invitation for an interview or not.


A resume simply gives an overview and details of your professional and academic journey. It consists of different sections and sub-sections. The way you tailor or arrange your resume can make or mar your job search. Remember, hundreds, if not thousands of job seekers applied for the same role. Although there hasn’t been a consensus on how to draft a resume, it is important, crucial, vital, and paramount to tailor your resume to the particular job you applied for. A resume should contain information on your education, work experience, and skills amongst others. Don’t worry; it isn’t wrong to have numerous resumes at the same time. All that matters is you make recruitment agencies or employers call you after going through your resume.

The pros of tailoring your resume to fit a particular job cannot be over-emphasized; not only does it get you an invitation, but it also shows the hiring manager that you are details oriented and smart.  There is a notion among organizations that most job seekers hardly read through the job detail before applying for the job. Arguably, the first step to a job application is to go through the job details. This will allow you to prepare your resume well. Often, we make the mistake of making our resume look outstanding and forget to make it suit the specific role. In addition, your skills and expertise should match the ones needed for the job. For example, if you are applying for a role as a customer service representative, your skills should include effective communication, human relations, conflict resolution, or problem-solving.

Additionally, recruitment or hiring managers may sort through thousands of resumes for a single role. Therefore, you need to showcase your most relevant qualifications using their keywords and specific phrases. Thus, this article will provide steps on how to tailor your resume to a job.


The Meaning of Tailoring a Resume

Tailoring a resume involves the use of the same language and keywords as advertised by an employer. When an organization posts an opening for a job, they included a list of preferred qualifications, responsibilities, and experiences. When you display similar qualifications and experiences as advertised by the organization, you have tailored your resume to the job. A tailored resume shows that you have the skills and expertise the hiring manager wants and has used them previously to create optimal results at work.


What are the benefits of tailoring your resume to a job?

Enumerated below are the benefits of providing a tailored resume for a job;

  1. It makes you stand out amongst other applicants.
  2. It improves your chances of getting an interview.
  3. It demonstrates and depicts your alignment with the job.
  4. It proves your interest in the job.
  5. It emphasizes the employer’s needs.
  6. It can help you pass the applicant tracking system.
  7. It provides evidence that you can come in and perform from day one.
  8. Finally, a tailored resume shows the employer that you pay attention to details.


Steps on How to Tailor Your Resume to a Job

  1. Review the job posting

The first step in tailoring your resume is reviewing the job posting. It is important to understand exactly what the job entails. You need to look through and determine what exactly the organization wants in terms of qualification, experience, and skill. In addition, you should highlight and write down any phrase or keyword used. These words may seem significant to the job or required skills and may have been used repeatedly throughout the job posting. Similarly, pay attention to specified requirements relating to training, years of work experience, or education. Subsequently, take note of the arrangement of responsibilities and follow the order. The employer may have prioritized the responsibilities that come first; you will want to mirror the organization’s prioritize when arranging your resume. In other words, the first item or responsibility mentioned in the job posting should be your first item as well.

  1. Compare your resume

After knowing what the organization is seeking from job applicants, you can review your current resume to start tailoring it to match their needs and requirements. Also, you can use your summary and experience section at the top of the page to highlight your most relevant and key qualifications. This will enable the employer to see that you are a good fit for the role from the onset. Additionally, have a look at the work experience section on your existing resume and determine the ones that are relevant to the role. If they are not your recent roles, you should use a combination or functional format to highlight them. In contrast, a reverse chronological format should be adopted if the most relevant roles are your recent jobs. This will ensure that the focus is steered towards your most relevant skills and not your work timeline.

  1. Update your summary section

The summary section should be at the top of your resume. This will give the hiring manager an overview of your career and history. Also, it is the first thing that the recruiter will see. If you have one, use it to showcase your most relevant skills and accomplishments concerning the job description and requirements, as well as the highlighted keywords. Also, make sure that you include the title of the job to which you are applying; this proves that your resume is personalized.

  1. Customize your work history

The work history section on your resume enables the hiring manager to know if you have the relevant or required experience for the job. Therefore, you may need to minimize or reduce your work history if it is too long. Relatively, you should remove roles that do not align or fit with the job. Alternatively, you may need to split your work history into “an industry experience” and “other work experience” sub-sections respectively if your most relevant roles were further back. You should use the job’s keywords for the bulleted list under each position. This specific language shows that you will start the job with the required skills and experience. Keep in mind that your first bullet points should represent the most relevant responsibilities or tasks as discussed earlier. For example, if the job emphasizes teamwork, start each list with examples of how you worked as part of a team to carry out successful tasks, or how you assisted a colleague to get things done. Even if those were not your main responsibilities, those responsibilities best match what the recruiter wants

  1. Include measurable results

The hiring manager wants to see evidence in form of data on your accomplishments. Therefore, use quantifiable data in your work experience section; this will further prove that you are a qualified candidate. If you do not have numbers and data in your bulleted list, try and find a place to add them to demonstrate your impact and achievement at your previous workplace. This will make the recruiter to be impressed with your accomplishments since they show the value you provide.

A good example of a compelling and impressive achievement would be “developed an intervention that increased the adherence to antiretroviral treatment in Kano State by 25%”. The hiring manager will be more intrigued to see your measurable results, rather than a sentence such as “developed successful adherence to HIV treatment campaigns”. In this case, the recruiter did not get details of the significance of the impact you made.

  1. Update your skills section

Your summary and work history sections may not include all of the most relevant skills you have. Therefore, add any remaining skills to your skills section. Like previous sections, enumerate and highlight the skills prioritized by the employer whilst using the specific keywords used in the job. Afterward, you may include other skills that highlight the value and uniqueness you will bring to the position.

  1. Proofread your resume

While writing, you may make grammatical and spelling errors; hence, the need to proofread your resume. Also, reviewing your resume will ensure that you used matching keywords and phrases with the ones used in the job description. Also, you should compare your summary section to the overall job to avoid discrepancies. Similarly, you should ensure that each bullet point in your work history section is relevant to the role’s requirements and responsibilities. You can ask for an independent review from a friend or trusted colleague to ensure that there is an alignment.



Apart from passing potential applicant tracking systems, you want to ensure that your language is specific enough to catch the recruiter’s attention. Seeing familiar words or phrases will demonstrate that you understand the organization’s needs and can execute the job’s responsibilities. Therefore, use the tips provided above on how to tailor your resume to a job and enjoy the journey to your next job.

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