Most recruiters will be quick to tell you – you can’t use just one resume for every job application. Sure, the basics may remain the same – you can’t exactly change your employment history, after all. But customizing your resume for the company and position can help increase your chances of landing the job. What does it mean to customize your resume?
Nearly every job opportunity you find these days requires an online resume submission. This is because companies use an ATS (applicant tracking system) to sift through resumes before a hiring manager ever sees them. The ATS filters out resumes that don’t fit the job description. You may wonder how it does this. The answer is: keywords.
Search through the job posting and take note of the exact wording used. Then, customize your resume so it uses the same wording (assuming, of course, you actually have the skills in question!). If, for example, your resume says, “Speaks Fluent Spanish.” You find a job posting that says, “Bilingual a huge plus.” If a human read your resume, they would understand you meet the qualification of being bilingual. An ATS is not that smart. Customize your resume to include the exact keyword, maybe changing that line to “Bilingual in Spanish and English.”
While you are updating keywords, create a customized “Objective” or “Target Job Title” statement. This should be at the top of the resume, just under your name and contact information. In the past, candidates have been encouraged to use a lot of descriptive buzzwords in their objective, like “Highly motivated professional seeking a challenging position…”
If your resume has anything like that, cut it immediately. Replace it with a simple statement that lists the job title exactly as it appears in the posting. For example, “I am seeking a Medical Office Administrator position that lets me utilize my medical billing training.” This is straightforward and should get your resume through the ATS. Once your resume reaches a real person, this statement lets them know you want this particular position. It also tells them what you will bring to the job – your medical billing training. That should entice them to keep reading.
That’s all it takes to customize your resume! It doesn’t take long to do, but it does increase your chances of being noticed. And that’s the first major step towards being hired.