You just discovered a job opening with a great company. You scan over the job description listed on the company's website, LinkedIn, or a job board and realize that you really want this job. You even notice that you have the college degree and amount of experience that they are looking for.
What you are about to do next is going to lose you the job. Stop uploading and submitting the same resume for every position. Employers know the difference between a generic resume and a resume targeting their company and this position.
While it takes a little more effort on your part, it's important to customize your resume for every job opportunity you find. We are sharing our best tips for targeted resume writing by describing how to customize your resume for each job position you apply for.
Analyze The Job Description
Job descriptions provided by employers are the secret to successful resume writing. Recruiters and hiring managers spend a lot of time creating these because they spell out exactly who they want to hire. They are also the cheat sheets for passing Applicant Tracking software.
Keywords That Narrow Down The Search
When you upload your resume to a job posting, your resume is stored in that employer's Applicant Tracking software. Human Resource Managers will then log in and do keyword searches to narrow down the hundreds of applicants to the most qualified.
In other words, your resume needs to have keywords that mirror the keywords in the job description.
What To Look For In A Job Description
There are three specific details you want to look for in a job description. You need to identify what results this position needs to produce, what job-related skills are needed to complete daily tasks and responsibilities, and what qualities the company looks for in a candidate that will make him or her a great fit for the company culture.
As you are reading the job description, ask yourself:
- What is the primary goal of this position in relation to overall company goals?
- What are the top five skills that are specific to this role that I also possess?
- What is important to this company that may relate to my characteristics?
For example, a Training Manager job description may start like this:
DESCRIPTION: Company A currently has an exciting opportunity for you to manage a team of training professionals who provide industry leading performance and learning solutions to the sales representatives. The Training Manager will primarily manage the training delivery of our development programs.
The Training Manager will also lead projects to understand the future development needs of the sales representatives and create exceptional learning and performance solutions. Additionally, the candidate will execute the organizational training strategy and assess its outcomes.
The ideal candidate will have a deep understanding of the sales life cycle and operations.
It is clear that the company goals are sales-oriented, and the primary goal of this position is to create training materials and development programs as well as oversee how the sales representatives are receiving the training.
The job description continues:
- Oversees training and development projects that cross organizational levels and roles within a functional group.
- Manages the quality of classroom and technology-based training and development activities including needs assessment, curriculum development, course design/planning and logistics, and content delivery
- Manages the implementation of training programs.
- Provides leadership, direction, and support to training staff. Evaluates performance of staff by establishing objectives and measurements and providing constructive feedback on a regular basis.
- Provides direction regarding expense management.
- Develops and uses assessment and evaluation tools to measure the impact and effectiveness of training programs/materials. Reviews participant feedback. Shares evaluation feedback and results with senior level management with recommendations for improvement.
- Bachelor's degree or equivalent experience required.
- 5+ years of training and development experience AND 1-3 years working in a supervisory or leadership capacity.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills; strong project management, leadership, and team building skills.
- Prior experience implementing and maintaining technology-based training/distance learning programs for a geographically dispersed workforce preferred.
The top five job-related skills that the employer is looking for are training & development, curriculum development, course design and planning, project management, and team leadership. Based on this job description, you should include all of these keywords in your resume at least once.
There were also several statements in the job description that describe the company's values:
- "...industry leading performance and learning solutions."
- "...to understand the future development needs of the sales representatives and create exceptional learning and performance solutions."
- "..implementing and maintaining technology-based training/distance learning programs for a geographically dispersed workforce preferred."
A few personal attributes that come to mind include innovative, strategic, and motivational or supportive (specifically for managing remote employees).
Rework Your Branding Statement or Career Summary
Now that you have a good idea of what the employer is looking for specifically in an ideal candidate, start naturally integrating these keywords into your resume. Start with your Branding Statement or Career Summary.
If you've already written an effective Branding Statement, you should have a great template that just needs a few changes made. If the job description is looking for a certain amount of experience ("5+ years of training and development experience AND 1-3 years working in a supervisory or leadership capacity"), then this is one of the first things you should include.
You should also adjust any job-related skills and personal attributes you use to describe yourself to match the job description. Don't feel the need to include everything in this one section of your resume. The key to keyword-rich resumes is including keywords naturally and not keyword-stuffing your resume.
Add Keywords To Your Key Skills Section
To ensure that your resume passes the 15-second test (the average amount of time recruiters look at your resume before deciding if you will move forward in the selection process), your resume should have a Key Skills or Area of Expertise section that briefly lists your most valuable skills. This section should directly reflect the job-related skills identified in the job description.
If you have Staff Training listed, edit this to Training & Development. If you already list Staff Management, add Leadership or Team Building to the section. Your resume is more likely to be found and read by employers if you successfully integrate relevant keywords from the job description.
Adjust Your Accomplishments
You should also review the measurable accomplishments that you've included in your Professional Experience section. If your accomplishments are more focused on your sales achievements, rework them to focus on your success in training and development.
Here are a few aspects of your background to consider for this role:
- How many and what type of training materials have you created?
- How successful have your training and development programs been? (Increased sales by what percentage?)
- How many staff members have given you positive feedback on your training programs?
One final touch you can make is to change your Resume Title to reflect the specific job title. If you have been using a general Resume Title, like Sales Training & Management Professional, edit it to Training Manager to show that you are specifically targeting a Training Manager role.
Once you have customized your resume and optimized it with keywords found within the job description, check your work by using Jobscan.
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