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4 changes to make to your resume every time you apply for a job

Dive In
  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Bromstein

Customizing your resume for each job you apply to is key. Here are 4 changes to make to your resume every time you apply for a job.

It’s been said time and time again that if you want to land a great job you have to customize your applications materials for every job you apply for. This means changing parts of your resume to match the company and job description.

If you’re not sure how to do this and where to start, here are four changes to make to your resume every time you apply for a job.

1. Change your headline to match the job title

Change your headline to match or closely reflect the one you’re applying for. If the job title is for a “Marketing Manager,” “Account Executive” or “Software Engineer” then put that in your header, beside or underneath your name. So, mine would say, “Elizabeth Bromstein, Content Specialist,” if the job I was applying for was for a content specialist or “Content Strategist” of the ad was for a content strategist. If you’re moving up the ladder and have never been, say, a “manager,” and don’t want to misrepresent yourself, you can write something close. So I might write “Content Professional,” or similar. Don’t send your “Retail Sales Professional” resume for an “Office Administrator” job. Pro tip: Be sure to save the file with your name as the file name. This makes it easy for hiring managers to find in their saved files, whereas if you save it as “resume,” there’s a very good chance you’ll get lost.

2. Change your summary statement to match the job requirements

Similarly, your summary statement should match the job posting. Not exactly — don’t cut and paste it — but closely. This summary statement is what you should have at the top of your resume instead of an “objective.” If you haven’t ditched the objective, do that now (read this for more on why and how). Include wording from the job posting in your summary statement, including titles, skills, qualifications, and achievements.  

3. Change your skills to match the job’s required skills

If you have a “skills” section, which most people do, make sure many of them match the skills in the job posting. You can use both exact wording and synonyms, as this is what the applicant tracking system (or the bot that reads your resume before any human does) will be looking for. You can also remove any skills that are irrelevant, or simply outdated and unnecessary. You don’t need to list “Microsoft Word,” for example, or “ability to work independently or as part of a team” as skills. Read more about this here.

4. Prioritize and highlight your related experience & accomplishments

Emphasize your most related work experience, and maybe even remove any unrelated experience. That’s only possible if you have enough related experience to look good, but don’t include unrelated jobs if you do. Many resumes are too long anyway. And for each job you’ve held, be sure to highlight any related accomplishments to reflect how you would succeed in the role. Spend some time emphasizing tasks that are similar to something the employer would expect you to take on and accomplishments that would be considered a success in the role you’re applying for. If it would have nothing to do with the role, remove it.

You only have a few seconds to make an impression with your resume and hiring managers will be looking for these details. Make the most of that time. These tips for changes to make to your resume should get you on your way.

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