You walk into Career & Internship Services with your resume that you want critiqued, and one of the first questions you may be asked is “What is this resume for; a job fair, an internship, a specific job?” You may think to yourself, “What does it matter? It’s just a resume.” However, this question is more important than you may think. This question helps you to tailor your resume to your specific needs, which will help you stand out from all the other applicants. It may just give you the extra boost you need in order to get hired.
The first thing to do when tailoring your resume to a specific job is to look at the job description and qualifications. Pay special attention to key verbs and phrases that are deemed necessary in order to perform the job. I find it helpful to print the job description and qualifications and highlight specific verbs or phrases. If you do not have a printer, you can simply write them down.
Once you have a list of the key verbs and phrases, compare that list to your resume. Do any of the verbs match the verbs you use on your resume? If they do, that’s great! You will then be able to show companies that you already have some of the skills that are necessary to perform the job.
If nothing matches up with your resume, don’t fret! You can use your list of verbs and phrases to try and incorporate them into your resume. Let’s say, for example, you have “interpersonal communication skills” on your key verbs and phrases list. This would be a perfect time to add that Interpersonal Communication class to your resume, or add a blip about customer service to one of your jobs you have listed on your resume. This will help show the employer that you do in fact have interpersonal communication skills. However, only add things to your resume that you have actually done. DO NOT lie on your resume, this will only hurt you. Even if you do get the job, the company can find out you lied on your resume and you may be fired. So it is best to remain truthful and honest, companies admire those traits.
The second thing to do is look at the website of the organization you are applying to, specifically the Mission Statement and Careers sections of the website, and again pick out key verbs, phrases or themes that are present on the website. You can then try to incorporate these things into your resume to help you stand out.
Finally, ask around and use your connections to try to find someone who works or has worked for the company you are applying for. They may be able to give you advice on specific things the company looks for in applicants and you can, again, incorporate those things into your resume.
Tailoring your resume may take some time but it will be well worth it when you land that dream job! If you need any help tailoring you resume, stop by Career & Internship Services. One of our Peer Educators or Career Counselors would be more than happy to help you!