Your resume is the first introduction your potential employer gets to who you are. Although it may seem like a lot of pressure to put on one sheet of paper, a lot is riding on how you approach compiling your previous experience. Here is how to tailor your resume to make yourself the most attractive candidate you can be:
Use a base, and work from there
Keep a base version of your resume with good bones. This will have the basics like your education and most recent jobs. From there, you can use your job descriptions to make yourself appealing to each potential employer. Avoid using one resume for every job application. (See our previous article here about why mass applying results in burnout). Highlight skills you would use in each specific job you are applying to. Use the job description provided by the company to guide you in emphasizing valuable skills from past jobs.
Separate “Relevant Work” from “Additional Experience”
Having these two categories in your resume can show your experience and your soft skills to your potential employer. “Relevant Work” is the place to show concrete skills and experience that you can directly apply to the new position. “Additional Experience” is a place to show other skills that may be attractive to an employer. For example, you may be applying for an engineering job but have experience volunteering with retirees. Mentioning this on your application can signal to the employer that you are good with people and care about those around you. This does much more than just listing your soft skills.
Quantify your experience
Numbers catch the eye. Companies love to see the tangible impact of your work, especially if it relates to the job you will be doing for them. Providing this gives real evidence of what you can accomplish as their employee. Some examples are “X number of units installed,” “X number of candidates placed,” or “X number of clients served.”
Tailor your resume and make your first impression count—make them want to learn more! Keep it concise and relevant, and let your interests and personality shine through in your previous experience. Happy hunting!