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A high percentage of job seekers secure employment via the internet in today’s job market, and part of the process is finding and applying to jobs online. Jobs can be found on Craigslist or major job boards, like Monster, Indeed, and CareerBuilder. Typically companies will post detailed job descriptions as well, including information about what your daily responsibilities will be and what skills are required. Tailoring your resume to these job descriptions is essential, but make sure not to over-tailor or you risk losing a chance for an interview.

Tailoring Your Resume
Let’s say that you are applying for a job as an IT Manager, and the job description mentions that excellent technical and supervisory skills are required. When writing your resume, make sure to highlight these skills in your summary of qualifications and in your employment history. Organize your duties/achievements so they are in order of decreasing importance and relevance. Start with your most impressive supervisory/technical information, then work your way down to your less-relevant information. Listing your impressive information first helps grab the attention of potential employers.

Over-Tailoring Your Resume
One main problem with tailoring your resume towards a specific job description it over-tailoring. Here is an excerpt from a job description which is currently listed on CareerBuilder:

  • Develops long and short-range plans for application selection, system development, and acquisition of required resources.
  • Provides all personnel with support training and maintenance of all computer systems throughout the organization.
  • Manages technology resources, including main systems telecommunications network, telephone systems, and personal computer connectivity.

Even if you perform all of these duties at your current job, DO NOT list these sentences on your resume verbatim. Employers will recognize this verbiage from their own job description and assume that you are simply showing them what they want to see. It is best to write your current responsibilities in a concise manner and paraphrase when needed to avoid looking like you are trying to trick employers into calling you.

Find a Balance
To ensure your resume is effective, find a balance between highlighting your relevant skills and experience vs. over-tailoring your resume and plagiarizing from job descriptions. Show employers what they want to see without being obvious that you used their job description as a guideline for your resume. As with anything in life, a good balance is essential, so keep this in mind while searching for employment.

By Drew Roark