Simple Steps to Customize Your Resume

So you've put together the perfect resume. Now you're ready to send it out to a million employers simultaneously, right?


Unless your talents are extremely rare, potential employers won't be impressed with a cookie-cutter, generic version of your credentials. A general resume may be appropriate to post online for headhunters and other generic locations, but each time you apply for a specific position, you'll want to customize your resume to highlight why you're the best person for that particular job.

Customizing a resume is especially challenging if you are changing career fields or returning to the job market after a long break. But no matter what your circumstances, customizing a resume is key to being noticed. Here are some writing tips to take your resume from practical to perfect fit:

  • Most jobs encompass several responsibilities. If phone calls are acceptable, contact the company to collect specifics on the job-find out which skills are emphasized most for that position. Use this information to point your resume in the right direction.
  • If you are attempting to change careers, focus on broad skill sets instead of job experiences. For example, if you are leaving an elementary school teaching job for a career in sales, list your employer information and job title, but play up your multi-tasking skills, high energy level, and uncanny ability to remember names.
  • Restate the exact job title you are applying for on the "Objective" line of your resume. This is vital if you are applying at a large company that fills several positions a week-employers should see which job you want at a glance.
  • Use wording from the ad description of the "ideal candidate" throughout your resume. This is particularly important if you are competing with several applicants. If a human resources assistant must pick the top 10% from 250 submitted resumes, that assistant will scan for relevant keywords instead of reading resumes word for word.
  • Ask trusted friends and colleagues to review your finished resume; ask for detailed feedback.

Those who review resumes will notice instantly if you have customized your resume to fit their specific needs. Customized resumes are more relevant to the job, more attractive to management and generally get more attention than generic resumes.

So make reviewing your resume easy on the Human Resources department; make it perfectly clear in your resume that you know exactly what the employer wants and that you've got it.

Joanne C. Weaver