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Create a Tailored Resume That Stands Out

Learn how to use personal and job-specific elements to create a tailored resume that gets you the job you want.

Ho Lin Profile
By Ho Lin 3 minute read

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Crafting a personalized resume can be instrumental in influencing a hiring manager’s decision, but understanding how to make your resume stand out can be challenging. Hiring managers review hundreds, potentially thousands, of resumes in their time. They can easily read general credentials that weren’t designed for their specific job at their specific company. By sending out a generic resume, you only blend in with the crowd and increase the chances you’ll end up on the “NO” pile.

When you create a tailored resume, you are showing hiring managers one of the most important things they’re looking for: the details. The irony of that is you would have a hard time finding a resume where the candidate doesn’t claim they are “detail-oriented.” Yet, the average resume does not demonstrate this. Learn how to make your resume stand out with these personal and job-specific elements.

Include job-specific keywords and phrases

When you’re figuring out how to design your resume, review the job posting carefully. The more information there is, the better for you, because now you can glean the highlights. Look for company-unique phrases such as coding experience, fast paced environment, may involve travel, etc. Use these keywords in your resumes without appearing to write bad Internet content.

Make the content relevant

Do not feel compelled to tell a hiring manager everything. In fact, everything that isn’t relevant to the specific position should be deleted. That bullet point about knowing how to use a printer? Gone. You worked temp in a completely different industry? Gone. If the resume starts looking skimpy, focus on related skills and experiences that maybe aren’t spelled out in the job description, but prove that you’ve got abilities that can be useful on the job. For example, maybe a project manager job doesn’t call for negotiation skills, but they’re bound to come in handy if you have them.

And make sure every bullet point matters, starting from most important and working down.

The most recent job should have the longest list of accomplishments and responsibilities, but every bullet should be relevant to the position in question, not an inventory of daily activities.

Lead with your relevant skills

In the skills section of your resume, list your relevant skills to the job in question. Mention you use Microsoft Office only if it’s mentioned in the job listing. Don’t mention a generic skill because it sounds good; all things considered, who can’t use Microsoft Office? You want to highlight specific skills like analytics experience, your prowess in management or your knowledge of software development. Impress the hiring manager with a personalized resume that shows them off the bat what you bring to the table.

Keep it down-to-earth

Avoid exaggerating and definitely do not lie about your skills or experiences. If you’re only printing the reports, don’t say you’re preparing them. If you’re a solid candidate and show potential, employers will gladly work with you. When you personalize your resume for each position, you give yourself an edge over those who didn’t. You’ve also prepared yourself for the interview because you studied the job listing and established what the hiring manager is looking for in a candidate.

If you want to know how to make your resume stand out, remember that every resume should address the exact requirements of each hiring manager and position.

You want your resume to speak to the hiring manager specifically, not merely impressing them with your technical knowledge and experience, but clearly showing how you would be of use to their operations.

It shouldn’t merely emphasize your strengths. The resume should emphasize why those strengths matter. Most importantly, personalizing your resume will give you a tremendous advantage for one major reason: The average candidate doesn’t do it.

Ho Lin Profile

Ho Lin is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and editor with two decades of experience in content strategy, creation, and development. He holds a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University and his background includes experience aiding military veterans as they transition to civilian careers.

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