Did you know that your resume initially passes through a robot? Today, most employers and job agents use a software called Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to filter resumes to fit the demands of the business. To pass this preliminary automated screening, tailoring your resume to a specific job role is crucial.
Have you heard that recruiters spend typically 6 seconds reviewing a resume? A study conducted using a scientific technique called “eye tracking”, investigated that recruiters spend only 6 seconds reviewing an individual resume before deciding whether it merits detailed analysis.
How can you impress a recruiter within this short period? According to Plymouth University, Careers and Employability advice, you need to think about the job opening as a question and the resume & cover letter as the answer. Your resume needs to answer the question by indicating that you can do a specific role, in a particular organisation with your skills, qualifications, and experiences which match the job role requirements. Then your cover letter needs to explain why you are keen on being selected for this opportunity.
Every job role and organisation has its necessities; therefore, you need to tailor every resume and cover letter to fit the opportunity rather than sending a standard resume and cover letter. It is always more beneficial to send a carefully tailored resume and secure your interview than sending ten poorly written resumes and not having any interviews.
Tailoring your resume and Cover letter to a specific job is an exhausting and a prolonged process, but when you are aware of this, you will be able to complete the process effortlessly.
Steps you need to follow when tailoring your resume are as follows:
1. Understand the job advertisement thoroughly
As soon as you see a vacancy that catches your attention, do not hurry to click the apply button without reading the advertisement carefully. Take a couple of minutes to grasp the job role.
2. Analyse the job description (gives all the details of the job) and job specification (describes the individual that the employer is looking for)
Then pick out the essential requirements, duties, responsibilities, skills, location, keywords & phrases. Create a checklist of these and compare them with your resume.
3. Determine whether you can immediately see the critical requirements for the job on your resume
If you have left out any requirements, add some skills and knowledge that you genuinely have.
4. Use similar terms in your resume as the job advertisement
Remember, your resume initially passes through the ATS. To pass this initial screening, you need to use standardised terms in your resume as used in the job advertisement. For example, if a Job role requires experience in “Performance Management” but in your resume, you have mentioned this experience as “Performance Appraisal”, it will not pass the initial screening. Therefore, it is better to change this term in your current resume to “Performance Management”.
5. Use your imagination to fill-up missing experience, knowledge and requirements
Think of similar experiences or transferable skills that you can include in your resume to reflect that you are the best fit for the position. According to the businessdictionory.com, transferable skills defined as abilities and knowledge acquired through personal experience such as schooling, jobs, classes, hobbies, sports etc. This covers, any talent developed and able to be used in future employment such as leadership, communication, listening, delegation, and prioritisation.
6. Begin your resume with an impressive Career Objective (Personal Summary/ Professional Summary/ Performance Summary) at the top midpoint of your resume.
Since this section is the first part that the recruiter reads and the best opportunity to grab the attention of the recruiter to the resume, it is essential to include all the relevant skills, experiences, knowledge, and achievements that best match the job description and job specification. You can do this using 3-5 lines in bullet form. If the most critical skills required by the employer cannot be viewed in your “Personal Summary”, recruiters will move to the next resume.
Make sure your target job title (professional title) and the applying job title is the same. For example: if you are applying for a job with a designation of “Human Resource Generalist” then put that particular title at the top of your resume.
7. Only include information that is relevant to the job
Do not mention that you are proficient in biological chemistry when applying for a Human Resource Management Job.
8. Create achievements relevant to the job
Some achievements may not be immediately relevant to the job, but skills that you got from the achievement or skills that you utilised for the achievement might relate to the skills needed by the employer. For example: If you have many achievements in sports, probably you would like to put your sports achievements in your resume even though you are applying for a Human Resource vacancy. Sports develop many transferable skills such as leadership skills, team spirit, confidence, focus, etc. You can highlight those skills with your sports achievements if the employer appreciates those skills.
9. Mention in your resume, if you are willing to relocate to a location near the job you are applying for.
10. Focus on your achievements and use results-based language and avoid using task-based language
Employers do not want to see long lists of tasks and responsibilities that you have carried out. Employers want to know about your previous contributions and specifically how you have made a significant change in their company. According to the International Hellenic University Career Guidance, when you are writing a task that you have carried out, link that with an achievement such as saved money for the company, saved time for the company, contributed to excellent customer service, came up with a new idea that improved things, identified a problem and solved it etc.
Ask yourself three important questions:
What did I do?
What was the quantifiable result?
Examples of Achievement Statements: Developed a new employee career guidance program which was adopted by all the branches of the company.
If you follow the above steps on tailoring your resume to a specific job, you will be able to pass the ATS evaluation and then impress the recruiter and secure your position for an interview.