You’ve demonstrated all your ingredients for success on your resume. It’s been submitted more than 100 times a week for the past months but have received few job interview invitations. Why aren’t recruiters knocking down your door?
It might be because you’re serving pepperoni to vegetarians.
The pathway to a recruiter’s heart is specificity.
Consider the following two candidates seeking account executive jobs:
Candidate A: Submits the same resume to every company, allowing him to apply for 15–20+ jobs a day. He thinks his resume shows his skills as an account executive and that editing it for each job description is a waste of time.
Candidate B: Changes his resume for every company, letting him apply for only three jobs a day. It’s cumbersome, but he believes in taking every advantage to show each recruiter that he is precisely the right candidate.
Who will find a good job first?
Have you ever felt the disappointment of receiving a pizza with the wrong toppings? Sure, it’s still a pizza, but it’s not what you ordered. And you probably don’t want to pay for it. Neither do recruiters.
According to our pizza delivery driver, Candidate B is in for a much smoother ride.
Look, there are many account executives with work experience. But recruiters are passing by resumes that say “boosted online mushroom sales” when they need someone who “drives on-premise sausage solutions.” For the candidates who were overlooked but possessed the required experience, this scenario is tragic for three reasons:
- It’s their own fault for mistargeting their resume.
- They wasted everyone’s time.
- They could have secured an interview and possibly gotten a great job if they had aligned their resume with the job description.
Adapting your resume is not just for recruiters.
Before it can attract recruiters, your resume must first pass through an Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) — a cruel and discerning resume robot. Although this robot doesn’t eat pizza (yet), it knows which toppings it needs.
- Keepers: Contain keywords and concepts from the company’s specific job description.
- Booters: Are missing keywords/concepts, have weird formatting, or include extraneous information.
Thoughtfully prepared resumes pass ATS scanners and land job interviews.
In addition to being well-organized with adequate white space, a winning resume has the following features:
- Your name and contact information are at the top.
- The job description title is included, making it easy for recruiters to recognize what you’re applying for.
- Compelling Headline, Summary, and bulleted Key Skills sections let recruiters quickly evaluate you.
- The Professional Experience section reinforces that you have the skills and can use them through a descriptive overview of your day-to-day activities and achievements.
- You list your degrees, technical skills, training, languages, and relevant volunteering (often at the end).
Here’s how to align your resume with job descriptions.
Now that you know the basics of what to include on your resume, this painless process will help you adapt your resume for different job descriptions:
- First, paste the job description into an editable document. Highlight the title and keywords.
- Now, incorporate the job description title into your resume’s heading or headline.
- Update your Headline, Summary, and Key Skills to reflect the exact words you highlighted in the job description as they apply to you.
- Reinforce your ability to perform those activities using examples in your Professional Experience section.
- Remove extraneous information, like unrelated day-to-day activities.
- Proofread and submit.
- Go get a pizza.*
Follow this process for every job description, and you’ll soon be flying through each step.
Sure, it’s time-consuming, but so is ordering a pizza and having the wrong one delivered again and again. Do yourself and the recruiter a favor by proving you have the right ingredients, not just a bunch of food flung around the room, and I’m certain the interview calls will start rolling in.
*Ok, maybe skip the pizza so you’ll live long enough to accept the offer!