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If you currently have just one resume, this is why you should seriously consider creating more that are tailored to individual opportunities.

Your resume is an employment tool, a document that paves the way towards an interview and/or a new job. That much can be hardly objected to. Indeed, if that were the only purpose of a resume then I wouldn’t be writing this article.

One size fits few

The truth is that there are many jobs and many resumes and only a very slender portion of each are suited to each other. Imagine an electrician applying for a position as a schoolteacher or vice versa. The situation is plainly absurd. So why aren’t you tailoring your resume for each and every job you apply for?

The example is hyperbolic but the situation is far too common. I’ve often heard of submitted resumes with little to no specialised content, and general documents that even appear to have been sent accidentally. Recruiters reading these particular resumes automatically discard them and move on to the next. That’s assuming they actually managed to progress beyond the ATS and into a human’s hands.

As a job seeker, you should always remember that the balance of power in the application process lies naturally with the employer.

As a job seeker, you should always remember that the balance of power in the application process lies naturally with the employer.

Once you’ve been employed, you assimilate into that power but while you’re unemployed and searching for jobs, you have to understand and appreciate your position.

There are limits to this behaviour though – don’t act overtly respectful and grovel to prospective employers – but generally the humbler you are, at least internally, the better chance of success you have. So how exactly does this manifest itself? In the effort and minimal time it takes to ensure your resume recognises and respects the specificity of the job and the employer.

The art of tailoring

Almost all resumes include basic details, a skeletal edition of the final product. The ‘bones’ usually include an employment history, complete with achievements and responsibilities, certifications, industry-specific skills, hobbies and a profile, all accompanied by the personal information you would disclose to any number of organisations. Resumes in this state are useful for your personal reference and to act as a foundation for the submitted document but they definitely aren’t complete.

But is a human complete with just a skeleton? No, it exists as a bare minimum, just like a general resume.

The flesh, sinew and muscle are added in the form of information included exclusively for the job you are applying for. When I have conversations about this further information, a common response is “Why do I have to add any more? The job is in x industry, I have worked is x industry for years and feel I would be perfect for the role”. Here lies a fatal mistake in the application process. There is a major difference between being well suited for a job on paper and being successful with your application for an identical job in real life.

There is a major difference between being well suited for a job on paper and being successful with your application for an identical job in real life.

Hopefully, by now you’ve accepted that your resume needs to be tailored individually for each job, and you’re now wondering how to make the necessary changes.

The job advertisement

As always, the best place to start is with the crude information available to you, in this case, the job advertisement. The description of the position included in the advertisement is not just for informing the public. It also contains valuable clues as to what to include in your resume. Peruse the description and extract key phrases to use later. Recruiters can normally distinguish between the genuine and falsified placement of keywords so attempt to incorporate them seamlessly into larger paragraphs.

Your profile

Normally the profile is a statement from you about you, pleading your individuality. However, it also provides an excellent opportunity to turn yourself into the ideal employee for the company you are applying to. Analyse the content and language of the job description and mimic it in your choice of vocabulary and style of writing.

Your employment history.

As aforementioned, records and descriptions of your prior work engagements form one of the essential components of a resume template. Since it has to be there anyway, why don’t you capitalise upon its inclusion? Again, scatter key words convincingly within job descriptions and include achievements or other actions most likely to leave a positive impression on the employer. Remember to clearly state your worth to the company while remaining formal in your tone.

The key takeaway…

The combination of these factors will convince recruiters that you are perfectly suited for their specific role, especially if you also submit a highly targeted cover letter to complete your application. The key word here is ‘specific’ so it stands to reason that if you used that same resume for another role, it would be very unlikely to be suitable. That is why having just one resume will never really be enough.

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