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Résumé Writing: How to Tailor Your Résumé for a Specific Position

Updated on January 3, 2013

In a difficult economy, you need to know how to tailor your résumé for a variety of jobs. In June of 2011, the United States' unemployment rate was roughly 9.2 percent, which equates to 14.1 million Americans. For a point of reference, the United States' unemployment rate was 4.8 percent in February of 2008; nearly half of what it is today!

Because of those astonishing – and utterly disappointing – numbers, one of the most important skills you need is the ability to tailor your résumé for specific jobs.

1. Specify, with a bold heading, the job title you are pursuing. For example, if you are applying for a job as a Medical Transcriptionist, make sure that the title “Medical Transcriptionist” is at the top of your résumé. This will immediately inform the hiring manager what you are applying for.

Note: If you’ve read any of my other articles, you’ll know that I advise NOT to include an objective statement. Why? Because the employer knows your objective is to become employed…

2. Write a specific, position-oriented summary of qualifications. The first section of your résumé (after your name, contact information and title) should be a detailed list of reasons why you are qualified for the position you are applying for. This is known as the “Summary of Qualifications,” which you can use as the heading.

Take a look at the example below.

The snippet above is from one of my client’s résumés. You’ll notice that the wording is concise, the information is specific and the verbs are powerful.

Including specific information can be difficult if you’re not exactly sure what the requirements of the job are. In that case, visit Career Planner’s Job Description Tool and make sure your qualifications match the position’s requirements.

3. Do you need to highlight your education or work experience? This one is fairly easy to figure out. If you’ve just completed your education in a certain field and are applying for jobs in that field, then you need to highlight your education by placing it immediately after your summary of qualifications. If, instead, your work experience is more important, then place that after your summary of qualifications.

For your education: include your degree or diploma; year graduated; college, university or school; city and state; GPA (if you feel comfortable with it); any honors or awards accepted; and a sample of classes taken (if you need to take up some more room).

For your work experience: include your position, name of the company, city and state, time span of employment, and a bulleted list of responsibilities (or specific accomplishments, if applicable).

Note: Don’t include work experience that isn’t relevant to the position you’re applying for. Put that experience under “additional experience.”

4. Look over your résumé several times and revise anything you feel could be improved. You only get one chance at making an impression, so it has to be a good one. Every hiring manger I have ever talked to says that once they see one spelling error, or sometimes even a grammatical error, they’ll throw the résumé out, regardless of the candidates qualifications. You don’t have to believe me, but I advise not trying to prove me wrong.

5. Seek professional help if you are unsure about your résumé. Although some people believe it sounds like “cheating,” hiring a professional résumé writer can have a huge impact on your job hunt. Just like every other profession, résumé writers are professionals at what we do.

So far, the economy isn’t getting any better, which indicates that good jobs are only going to be harder and harder to get. Your best chance at getting more interviews is by having a professional write your résumé. It’s a small price to pay for a huge advantage.

My mother and I operate our own résumé writing service, which is known as Hired Résumé Service. I write these articles to help establish my expertise and to help those who would rather write their résumés by themselves.

Thanks for reading, and good luck on your job search!

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