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Crafting a well-written resume is no easy task, so no one wants to start from scratch every time they apply. The good news is, you don’t need to.  The key is to be strategic about your resume (and your time) by aligning your skills and experience points with the job you’re targeting in places on your resume that will pack the most punch. Tweaking a few spots on the resume is a much more manageable way to ensure that your resume isn’t a one-size-fits-all, generic resume that will be easily overlooked. Here are a few places on your resume that you can change to fit what they’re looking for:

1. Introduction: One of the main advantages of beginning your resume with some sort of summary/profile is that this is an excellent place to highlight your qualifications for the position. A strong summary should introduce a few skills and points of experience that relate to the position you’re considering, so this is a natural place to swap out keywords based on the job description. The key is to pinpoint specific keywords in the job requisition that you can speak to, then work them into the natural language of your introduction. You don’t want to quote the job description verbatim, but since there are specific keywords they’ll be looking for, it’s appropriate to name-drop these keywords (as long as you actually have experience in those areas). For example, a sales professional looking at a position that requires team management experience might want to highlight any experience managing things like inside sales or customer service representatives. 

2. Skills Section: Skills sections are highly abused on resumes, and if you’re using a skills section to highlight soft skills like “attention to detail,” you might want to reconsider the use of this section on your resume. However, skills sections can be useful if you know recruiters will be looking for specific technical skills, such as familiarity with special software or equipment. If you’re looking at positions that require different skill sets, make sure to switch out your skills in this section so that you’re not wasting valuable space highlighting skills that the recruiter reading your resume will have no interest in.

For example, you might have worked at a smaller company where your business analyst position included everything from SQL and Excel to Tableau, Salesforce, and even on to HTML/CSS where you created landing pages to help Marketing every now and then.  You may also have picked up some basic Java programming skills on the side.  But when applying to a larger company, listing all of these skills might paint the picture of someone who lacks focus or isn’t an ideal fit for the job (since some of these skills likely won’t be important to the new role).  It’s good to show judgment in each application, understanding that the best resume is the one that presents them with as many “matches” as possible between your skills and the job they’d want you to do.  Extra skills are not always seen as a bonus. They can often hurt your candidacy more than you think!

3. Experience Bullets: You don’t need to switch out every bullet point on your resume for each position you apply to. Sometimes, just changing the order of your bullets to emphasize certain examples/skills can help align your experience with the position. In other situations, you might need to switch out a few bullets. When scanning job requisitions, consider if there’s a specific example you can provide in your bullets that will help you stand out as a candidate. A project manager who is applying to a position that requires experience with budget management might want to describe what kind of budget he/she was working with and how these funds were allocated. Keep in mind, if you change your summary or skills section to pinpoint certain keywords, it’s a good idea to reinforce them in your work experience. You want to make it clear you have hands-on experience in these areas.

If you already have a strong resume, making a few simple changes to your resume for each position you apply to can go a long way in helping you stand out as a strong candidate. However, if you don’t have a well-written resume to begin with, making these changes won’t do you much good. That’s where we can help. One of our writers at Executive Drafts would be happy to give you complimentary feedback on your existing resume. Or, if you’d like help crafting an entirely new resume, we can help with that, too. Do you have a specific position in mind? Our writers are well-versed in aligning your experience and skills with the kinds of positions you’re targeting.