Creating a targeted resume is simple

It’s a question that career counselors hear all the time when reviewing job seekers’ resumes:

“Do I really have to target my resume to every position I apply to?”

You really don’t have to…unless you want to increase your chances of landing an interview.

Generic resumes don’t tell the employer how your skills and qualifications can benefit his or her company in the specific role they’re hiring. Not taking the time to target a resume may show a recruiter you’re not serious about your job search.

If you want the employer to know why you’re the candidate for the job and that you do take your job search very seriously, read on to learn five simple strategies for preparing a targeted resume.

Know that writing a targeted resume doesn’t mean rewriting your entire resume. You can’t change your education or previous work experience, so you’re not reinventing the wheel with every application.

Start with the objective or career summary. Listed at the top of the resume, either of these categories grabs an employer’s attention and encourages further reading. An objective should state the position to which you’re applying, the name of the company (if you know it) and quickly mention relevant qualifications (skills, education, etc.). Career summaries are a little longer and often utilized by job seekers with multiple years of experience or specific accomplishments they wish to market. It should still be tailored to the employer. Target both. If your degree isn’t specifically relevant to the job, no need to mention it; list your skills instead. If the degree is important for another job, be sure to market it.

List a summary of skills section and use industry-specific keywords. Here’s where you pay attention to the job posting, specifically the requested qualifications. What specific skills are listed? It’s these skills that made you say “I’m qualified for this job.” List these skills on your resume. Know the keywords for your targeted industry and make sure they’re represented.

Consider a “Related Experience” category when appropriate. Of all your previous jobs, is there one that stands out as more related to the particular position to which you’re applying? If so, consider listing that position in a category called “Career-Related Experience,” and place it before the “Employment” section on your resume. Resume entries must be in reverse chronological order within a category. If your job from two years ago is more relevant to a position you’re applying to now, creating this category highlights that experience.

Reorganize categories. An objective and skills category should be first on the resume. But the category order after that depends on the job you’re applying for. Of the remaining categories, which one is most relevant to the position? The answer determines your resume’s category order for each job.

Creating a targeted resume may add some additional time to the application process. But targeted resumes shorten the amount of time you spend job searching by increasing your chances of being hired sooner.