When you’re on the hunt for a new job and you aren’t getting calls for interviews, discouragement is sure to set in. The problem might not be with your work history or experience. Instead, the problem may rest with the way you present your resume and cover letter. Most job seekers, in an effort to save time, send out form cover letters and the same exact resume for each position. Customizing your documents for each job is one of the most important steps that you can take to make yourself stand out among the crowd.
Not all job requirements are the same, even though you may be applying for the same type of job with each of your target companies. Job responsibilities vary from organization to organization, so you can’t possibly expect to meet each employer’s requirements if you’re sending the same documents to everyone. If you hope to grab a hiring manager’s attention from the very beginning, you’ve got to give them something different.
Before responding to a job posting, review the description carefully to determine exactly which credentials are important. Once you are able to identify those qualifications, you can customize your resume and cover letter to meet those needs.
You don’t have to create a brand new resume and cover letter from scratch each and every time, however. You can create a master copy of each document and then tweak them to match the specific job opportunity. Here’s how:
1. Open up a copy of your master resume and immediately save it as a new document with a unique title. This will ensure that you don’t permanently alter your master resume.
2. Edit your objective to be specific to the job title and the company. For example, “To become a lead front-end developer for XYZ Corporation’s Web Services Group.”
3. Review the employer’s qualifications closely and be sure that your career summary matches those requirements. It can help to rearrange your previous work history to highlight the most relevant experience first, instead of listing everything in chronological order. This allows the hiring manager to spot those relevant qualifications quickly, rather than forcing them to scan the entire document to find matches.
4. Review your individual job descriptions and modify your duties and achievements to make them relevant to the job opening. Do not lie or exaggerate, but highlight those tasks and responsibilities that align with the new job.
5. Once your resume has been customized, you can follow the same process for your cover letter.
Sending unique applications to each employer may seem like a lot of additional work, but it is worth the effort. Hiring managers see hundreds of form letters and resumes each day, and they will notice that you took the time to personalize your application. Customizing your documents shows a genuine interest in the position as well, and identifies you as someone who is not simply applying to any job they can find.
If you’re a job seeker looking to take the next step in your career, we’d love to talk to you. At The Prevalent Group, we are always seeking relationships with experienced professionals who have the skills and the ability to deliver results. As a nationally recognized management and executive placement recruitment company, we place executives in sales, marketing, engineering, technology and more. If you are looking for new opportunities in these fields, visit our job board to scan our current openings, and then contact us to learn more. We look forward to connecting you with your next job.